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Dublin: 4°C Friday 5 March 2021

'It wouldn’t be good enough against Mayo' - Rory Gallagher knows he still has problems to solve

Donegal went nearly half-an-hour without a score before beating Galway on Saturday evening.

Paddy McBrearty scored Donegal's first goal after six minutes - but the Ulster men let Galway back into the game.
Paddy McBrearty scored Donegal's first goal after six minutes - but the Ulster men let Galway back into the game.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

DONEGAL ARE READY for a revenge mission against Mayo next weekend.

Rory Gallagher’s men put their Ulster championship disappointment behind them and bounced back to beat Galway by 10 points on Saturday evening.

Now they have a week to prepare for the quarter-final showdown — a repeat of the 2013 clash which saw Mayo win by a massive 16 points.

Gallagher knows that his side will need to improve on another patchy performance which saw them kick 14 wides and go nearly half-an-hour without a score.

He said: “The last 20 minutes of the first half wasn’t good enough and wouldn’t be good enough against a team like Mayo. It’s up to us now to improve our intensity levels.

I suppose there is inevitably a period of mourning when you lose a provincial final, one we very much wanted to win.

“We are over that now so it is very much all to play for next Saturday evening.”

Paddy McBrearty’s goal helped Donegal into a 1-2 to 0-1 lead after just six minutes but they took their foot off the gas and allowed Galway to draw level by half-time.

The Tribesmen then edged in front early in the second half before goals from Ryan McHugh and Christy Toye swung the game back in Donegal’s favour.

Gallagher added: “There is a pattern there in all our games where we started very well and fall away after 15 minutes. It is something we are aware of and are keen to address.

“Then the second half we come out all guns blazing. We need to be more consistent.

Obviously you start at 100 miles an hour and you tire a wee bit, other teams get to grips with you as well, but it is something we are going to have to address.

Michael Murphy taps the ball into the path of the oncoming Ryan McHugh which resulted in their second goal Murphy got the crucial touch to allow Ryan McHugh to score. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Gallagher also paid tribute to captain Michael Murphy who shrugged off pre-match injury rumours to turn in another towering performance, including a beautiful touch to set up McHugh’s goal.

“It’s the quality of the ball. Michael is a big man so you can just lump it in but he can play with the ball, he can win it low, he can win it high, he is very dangerous. I thought his vision to set up the goal for Ryan was top class.”

Murphy started alongside Neil Gallagher in midfield before moving inside to full-forward, a position he hasn’t taken up too many times this summer despite wearing the number 14.

“You get us a move out of Ulster and you might see it a bit more,” Gallagher explained.

“It’s not easy when there are five or six men in around the D. That’s the way Ulster teams play.

“To be honest it was probably part of the plan to play him out the field in Ulster. He is going to get more touches. In other games over the years in Ulster he has got minimal touches when playing inside.”

Tyrone march into All-Ireland quarter-finals with victory over Sligo at Croke Park

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Niall Kelly

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