Declan Bonner knew the question was coming as he stood in the emptying St Tiernach’s Park with the mind already turned to the Ulster final and he played it with a straight bat.
By Chris McNulty in Clones
Last July, Rory Gallagher circulated news of his departure from the Donegal hot seat via a WhatsApp message. Not long after Gallagher hit ‘send’, Bonner was the favourite to land the job.
Ryan McHugh and Michael Murphy high five at the full time whistle during Sunday’s semi final. Picture by Evan Logan
And in his first year back at the helm, Bonner – 20 years after his first year in the Donegal job ended with a narrow final defeat to Derry in the final – has guided Donegal back to the provincial decider again.
As fate would have it, Fermanagh – with Gallagher in the Bainisteoir bib – will be their opponents on June 24. The script writes itself.
“It works both ways and we can only look after our end of it. We’ll do that and that’s basically it. I’m sure Rory will look after his end of it.
“It’s a great place to be, here in Clones on Ulster final day. That’s where every player wants to be and we’ll be back in two weeks time.”
Donegal have scored 6-58 across their three games in the Ulster Championship so far. Their attack has been devastating and they could have had even more goals against Down in a game that saw ten different Donegal players get on the scoresheet.
Bonner said: “We will be tested and we are going to have to look at different avenues in terms of getting scores.
“Fermanagh will set up defensively they did so last week and stifled a very potent Monaghan team. We have a very two big weeks ahead of us.
“Seven days ago Monaghan were highly fancied and hot favourites to win Ulster. I was at the Monaghan-Tyrone game. Monaghan were absolutely superb and Fermanagh came out last Sunday and did the job.
“They were well set up and knocked the favourites out of Ulster. We know it is a big test ahead for us and we know it will be a difficult task.
“But we have two weeks to get ready for that challenge and we have a lot of work to get done. We know that and it starts right now.
“It is going to be a different test. We have got to change and got to adoptable and that is what we speak about all along.
“We’ve won the first three matches, Cavan, Derry and Down today but there is no silverware handed out we have to comeback in two weeks time and try and win the Anglo Celt Cup.”
The fast-paced nature of this year’s Championship means the Donegal heads went straight into final mode yesterday evening.
The fact that Gallagher will be the pantomime villain in Donegal for the next two weeks means the build-up will be intense but Bonner and company will be looking for intensity of a different kind.
He said: “The next two weeks will be some really high intensity at training, but it’s been like that for the last three or four weeks. That’s what you want to see.”Tags: