By Michael McMullan
EOGHAN Bán Gallagher says Donegal’s visit to Armagh on Saturday will be a battle and insists it’s something they must embrace as they aim for consistency.
The Killybegs man, joint vice-captain with Killybegs club-mate Hugh McFadden, feels Sunday’s draw with Galway was a building block, a game they failed to score in for 32 second-half minute before a late blitz of scores shot them into a position to win the game.
“We played Armagh three times last season,” Gallagher said. “We came out on top and they beat us in the qualifier.
“We know it is going to be a battle. We are going to start enjoying that and it is something we have to embrace. I was delighted with the fight we showed today more than the actual performance.
“Galway really came at us in the second half and after being two points down, in the position we were in, we did really well to come back and get the draw against the breeze, but we are very disappointed after the second-half display.”
Gallagher was full of praise for his team’s defensive performance and has full faith in their attack despite missing a series of chances when they were on top, also acknowledging the impact of the breeze in Sunday’s Letterkenny clash.
“The encouraging thing is that you’re creating the chances. I think we went through the first two games and weren’t really creating chances.
“We’ll take encouragement from that but on another day; you have to really take your chances. We could’ve really put Galway away but I’m delighted with the fight that we showed to come back.
“Against Monaghan the last day, we couldn’t quite get the ball turned over they moved the ball brilliantly but today we did, we got close, made the turnovers and we got the reward in the end.”
The draw took Donegal to three points in the table and with three games remaining – Armagh (A), Mayo (H) and Roscommon (A) – Gallagher spoke of the “six or seven” point tally needed for safety. Now, for Donegal, it’s about kicking on.
“We’ve got Armagh next Saturday evening so we’re looking forward to that and hopefully another good battle and hopefully we’ll come out on the right end.
“I thought Brendan McCole was superb, Mark Curran was also brilliant and Caolan McColgan back in the corner,” Gallagher said of their defensive showing on Sunday.
“Again, that’s only one game, one benchmark, the best teams in the country are very consistent,” he said.
“Dublin for years, and Kerry now, they’re very consistent and that’s where we are trying to get to, we want to compete for the All-Ireland.
“That’s something we have to strive for, to be more defensively compact and to see (us) create more chances at the far end, year (we) are very happy with that.
“Conor O’Donnell missed two or three, but we still had confidence that he’d kick the scores, him and ‘Farrah’ (Oisin Gallen) showed up and kicked the massive scores.”