We do more work than any other team in Ireland: O’Donnell

By Michael McMullan

YOU could barely turn a sweet in your mouth in the bedlam that was St Tiernach’s Park’s presentation area on Sunday but Niall O’Donnell found enough time to pull together his thoughts.

After his player of the match performance helped Donegal to glory, he was one of a glut of Donegal players who commiserated with every Armagh player as they made their way through the crowd. Respect.

The St Eunan’s man kicked two points when Donegal were in deep, deep trouble but, speaking after the game, he felt it was tough on Armagh to lose after penalties.

“To win, it’s unbelievable,” he said in a sea of back slaps, handshakes and hugs.

“At the time I was probably thinking it might not be fair on both teams, I mean it is tough for a team to lose on penalties.

“I was praying it wasn’t going to be us. Thankfully for us, we’ve won the Ulster Championship so that’s all I can ask for really but it’s devastating for Armagh to lose in that manner.”

Speaking after the game, O’Donnell outlined how he always had the belief they’d find a way to win.

“It (the belief) just comes from the work we put in. We feel we do so much work, we do more work than any other team in Ireland and with that comes the belief because we leave absolutely no stone unturned.

“I feel every game we go into we’re 100 per cent prepared, you’re not 70, 80, 90 per cent. There’s no grey area and with us that leads to full belief.”

Three times Donegal trailed by four points before holding Armagh scoreless for the last 20 minutes of normal time before skipper Patrick McBrearty took the decider to extra-time.

“We had to dig really deep and we had to dig really deep in the Derry game to find that result,” O’Donnell said of their deep resolve.

“We had to dig very deep in the Tyrone game and we had to dig deep again today. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy but, as I said, we fully believe that we can win these games.

“When we went down, it’s more about the basics and going back to what we’ve been doing on the training ground and that’s stood us down the last number of weeks.”

Armagh looked to have won the game in extra-time when Aidan Nugent opened a 0-20 to 0-18 lead but there was still time for another twist.

When Donegal shaved the margin back to a point, it was a pass from ‘keeper Shaun Patton that picked out Odhrán Doherty who kicked the equaliser and O’Donnell was full of praise for his ‘keeper who won the title with his save from Shane McPartlan in sudden death.

“We had full faith in Shaun,” he summed up.

“I know from hitting penalties against him he’s so springy on his feet.

“We knew he was going to get one, it was just whether that was going to be enough and thankfully it was.”

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