Donegal had no problem in overcoming Down on Sunday coming out thirteen point victors and booking their place in an Ulster-final.
In reality Donegal had their easiest battle so far this campaign but still produced an emphatic performance putting persistent pressure on Down for the seventy minutes.
Goals from Leo McLoone and Jamie Brennan proved to completely halt any type of charge that Down could put together with the Tír Chonaill men scoring 22 points along the way.
Declan Bonner had a lot to be positive about after the game and Donegal will now be looking forward to meeting Fermanagh in Clones on Sunday the 24th of June.
Donegal’s best performance to date
This was without doubt Donegal’s best performance of the campaign to date. Attacking wise it was some of the best football seen from the side since 2014. There was fluidity, pace and accuracy in every attack Declan Bonner’s men put together in Clones. Despite having 14 men for the majority of the game it really looked like Donegal were the side playing with the spare man. Defensively it was the best outing of the season too. It took 24 minutes for Down to find their first score and by this stage the game was almost over.
The more experienced members of the squad still have plenty of mileage left
Donegal simply looked fitter than Down all over the pitch. This Donegal side looks incredibly fit and completely different to the tired looking team that fell short against Tyrone at the semi-final stage last year. Frank McGlynn, Michael Murphy and Leo McLoone are all part of that more experienced group of the squad but on Sunday they showed that there is plenty left in the legs yet. It would be easy to forget that Down played in an Ulster-final last year as Donegal were simply superior all over the pitch.
This Donegal team has been incredibly consistent since 2011
For years Donegal were viewed across the country as perennial under-achievers, this is no longer the case. Since 2011 Donegal have featured in every Ulster final apart from last year. For years days like these were a rarity for supporters across the county. We should not underestimate the achievements and improvements made by Donegal since Jim McGuinness took over with Declan Bonner now getting his chance to see his side lift the Anglo-Celt. Constesting seven of the last eight Ulster titles is certainly something the county should be proud of and shows how talented this bunch of players really are.
Ryan McHugh was constantly a target of dangerous off-the-ball tackles from Down players
As per usual the Kilcar attacker was at his menacing best going forward. McHugh kicked two scores from play and played a massive part in Jamie Brennan’s goal. Despite the brilliant performance McHugh is sure to have been sore on Monday morning due to the amount of hits he received off the ball. On Sunday referee Anthony Nolan did little to stop the constant fouling but it’s something that Donegal will be hoping was picked up on. In the Ulster-final Donegal will need Ryan McHugh to be at his very best but don’t be surprised if Fermanagh don’t deploy a similar tactic to Down and try and disrupt one of Donegal’s most important players.
Kick-outs are a vital part of GAA now and Shaun Patton’s are excellent
The game on Sunday showed exactly how important kick-outs are in Gaelic football at the minute. For a couple of years now the idea of driving the ball down the middle of the park as the main plan of attack has disappeared. Once again Shaun Patton was on the money with his restarts and rarely wasted a ball all day. His ability to find Donegal players on the run without them having to break stride gives the team a real advantage moving forward. On the other hand, Down keeper Marc Reid really struggled to find a Down player with his kick-outs allowing Donegal to put even more pressure on the Mournemen.Tags: