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Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
INPHO/Kieran Murray Colm McFadden in full flow at Ballybofey.
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Criticism of Donegal's style of play made us closer, says sharp-shooter Colm McFadden
Haters gonna hate, but the St Michael’s clubman insists it had nothing but a positive effect for the Ulster champions.

THE WIDESPREAD CRITICISM of Jim McGuinness’ tactics last season only served to draw his Donegal panel closer together.

So says Colm McFadden who’s preparing this week for the county’s first All-Ireland SFC final in two decades.

“With Rory [Gallagher, selector] and Jim [McGuinness] there is a special bond between all of us.  It didn’t happen overnight.  He came in and had to build confidence in ourselves first and foremost and confidence in all the team mates.

“I think that bond has become stronger and stronger over the last year and then the criticism over the winter maybe made that bond stronger and every game we’ve won this year makes it stronger and stronger and hopefully we can seal that bond now after the final.”

McFadden explains the manager has fostered a team ethic and built a deep bench during his two-season tenure.

“I suppose you can’t really say structures were missing [over the years].  I know a lot of very good players went through Donegal since 1992 I suppose.  The thing about successful teams — Tyrone, Armagh, Kerry, Cork and Dublin – they are not just build on individual players they are built on team units, 20 and 30 man panels.

“And I think that’s what Jim done.  It’s not an individual thing.  He has create a team and a panel. You have a great player in the forward line but he can still play in defence,” he added.

Since McGuinness took over of course the north-westerners have twice won the Ulster championship. And St Michael’s clubman, McFadden, admits the lion’s share of the credit has to go to the man in the bib.

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“I wouldn’t say the players drive it at all to be honest.  I always knew Jim had a plan.  He had us for eight or nine months up to the Dublin game and it is a very short time to try and implement all your plans.

“We knew Jim had a plan and every play in and outside the panel had full faith in Jim and we knew he was going to push it on an extra level from last year to this year.

“He’s probably even more in store for us from this year to next year,” he added.

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