McGuinness delighted to land Division Two title

By Shaun Casey

JIM McGuinness was “delighted” to see his side lift the Division Two league title last weekend with a one-point win over Ulster rivals Armagh, particularly for the younger members of the panel that experienced Croke Park for the first time.

Donegal’s first objective of securing Division One football for next season was accomplished well in advance but adding some silverware to that achievement was the cherry on the top.

The Tir Chonaill men travelled to Headquarters without a host of regulars due to injuries, including captain Patrick McBrearty. Others such as Ryan McHugh, Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Brendan McCole and Daire Ó Baoill also missed out.

“There’s a lot of young lads there on the bus for the first time heading to Croke Park and a lot of lads as well got game time and that would have been the first time playing in Croke Park,” said McGuinness after the game.

“With the injury list that we had, and we didn’t want to be taking any risks, trying to manage that, we’re delighted. We’re delighted to get the result first and foremost, I felt we controlled a lot of the game as well.

“At 12-8, it shouldn’t have been as tight as it was at the end but that being said, you always find out a wee bit about your team and from being four points up to on -point down, we managed to go two points up again so that’s a big positive for us.

“It’s been a very good league in the sense that we’ve coming together, we’ve tried to put a team together and we’re still very much in the process of doing that and Division One and a trophy for the young lads, that’s brilliant for them.”

Five consecutive points late on from Armagh put McGuinness’ men under pressure but the 2012 All-Ireland winning manager was pleased with how his team dealt with that swing in momentum and the composure they showed.

Donegal claimed three of the final four points with Caolan McGonigle, Oisin Gallen and Aaron Doherty all raising white flags in the final few minutes. “We were happy with that piece and it’s something you need to be a top team,” added McGuinness.

“You need to be able to make good decisions on the ball. Dublin, Kerry, Derry, they’re leading the way in that regard, so it was nice to go in and play the games on our own terms for a lot of it, make good decisions and make good incisions.

“Decisions and incisions at the right time and get good scores on the board and with a couple of minutes to go they only had eight points on the board so from a defensive point of view that was very satisfying as well up to that point.

“So a lot of positives and obviously we will have to look at that last five minutes or so as well to make sure that we tighten things up but it’s a good day for the group and any day you win a trophy in Croke Park is a positive.”

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