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McGuinness's Donegal men should go all the way after masterclass against Dublin

By Ryan McMenamin

You have to take your hat off to Jim McGuinness and his Donegal side has they produced a master class at Croke Park yesterday afternoon and nobody can deny that they weren't worthy winners.

In the opening 15 minutes or so it looked as though Dublin manager Jim Gavin had got his tactics spot on as he was pushing the likes of Jack McCaffery forward but Donegal hung in there when they were under the cosh and their first goal was crucial.

Once it came you could see the confidence drain from Dublin as they were coming up against the first team this year in the championship that just weren't going to roll over.

Dublin didn't get far enough in front of Donegal during their purple spell in the opening quarter and that came back to cost them dearly.

I'm not being biased as a corner back but the undoubted man of the match was Paddy McGrath.

He was immense from start to finish and popped up everywhere throughout the field and Dublin simply couldn't live with him.

The McGee brothers Neil and Eamon also played huge roles in this victory and while the likes of Ryan McHugh will get a lot of plaudits for this win it was built on a solid defensive unit that snuffed out a much vaunted Dublin attack.

Tony McEntee had been saying earlier in the week that there was a lot of talk about this Dublin side and to listen to Martin Carney on TV you would have thought that they were unbeatable and the best side to come on the scene for years and no doubt that played into Donegal's hands.

Odds of 7/1 for Donegal in a two-horse race were not only unbelievable but in many ways it was disrespectful to them and no doubt it was mentioned in the build up to the game.

Dublin were sitting ducks as they were hyped up so much and in truth they had no answer when Donegal put the questions to them.

Going forward I think that it was a great result for Ulster football and it shows that the standard up here maybe hasn't slipped the way that some in the media would have you think.

There had been an aura built up that this Dublin side were having oceans of money thrown at them to prepare and they would be on the scene for many years to come but it just goes to show you that you can't still beat fighting spirit and the will to win.

Donegal will now feel that they have a great chance to finish the job off and win the county's third Sam Maguire Cup and it has all the ingredients of a cracking final.

Kerry showed again that they have a never say die attitude and with their tradition they will fancy themselves in the final but this Donegal side are on a mission and if they stay focused, which Jim will no doubt keep them, they will go all the way in my view.

Belfast Telegraph


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