DONEGAL MINOR BOSS Declan Bonner had his own triumph to celebrate on Sunday, but after addressing his side’s narrow 1-12 to 1-11 win over Dublin, there was no sense in ignoring the senior success.
Like many in the north-west, Bonner said he had been confident the 2012 All-Ireland Champions had enough homework and preparation done to get a job done.
However, the six-point winning margin did come as a surprise.
“There was a huge amount of work done. They went away last week for five nights down in Johnstown House and I know they did a huge amount of stuff on how Dublin were playing. It didn’t surprise me,” said Bonner yesterday.
“It surprised me how Dublin folded easily. Their defensive shape just disappeared. There were gaping holes right through the middle of their defence. Dublin must have thought; ‘we’ll score more than Donegal, no matter what Donegal score we’ll score more than them, it’s just all out attack’.
“There was no defensive plan. We could have got five goals.”
Bonner went on to criticise Dublin’s “juvenile” defending that presented Ryan McHugh with crucial scores:
“You set up your team to make sure they are as best they can be defensively, you don’t want to concede. I think Paul Durcan had two kick outs in the second-half.”
Kerry minor boss Jack O’Connor also believes that Dublin’s approach needs tweaking. O’Connor wouldn’t go so far as to say Jim Gavin’s team were naive, but lamented that the attacking style was their undoing:
“They’ve always stated that they go out and play their own game at all costs. They might be revising that tactic this morning,” he said.
“I think the mistake Dublin seniors made for example was that they got sucked into the opposition half of the field. You just can’t do that.”
“It just requires ferocious patience – in many ways, you have to be prepared for a game of cat and mouse. You just have to mind the house and make sure if you’re not getting scores, you’re not conceding scores. I just thought that they got suckered into all-out attack and leaving vast acres at the back. It cost them for the goals.”
O’Connor added: “I never say anyone’s naive. It’s just that; it’s alright sometimes to play your own game, but sometimes certainly you have to take the opposition into account.
“I just thought they left huge space in front of their full-back line and sooner or later the dam was going to break.”