McCann looking to “raise the bar” after promotion

By Dáire Bonner

DONEGAL manager Mickey McCann is looking forward to the challenge they will face in Division Two next year after achieving promotion as he hopes to raise the bar of Donegal hurling once again.

Their 2-26 to 1-16 win over London means Donegal will be in the third tier next year after coming second in Division 2B, and will have to face some good teams.

But McCann is looking forward to the prospect.

“We’ve never been in a division with the likes of Kerry and Down who are finding their feet up there. It would be great to have the likes of Kerry at home hopefully and we can get a crowd out and raise the bar a bit.

“It’ll be nice to see if we can compete with these boys and if you could find your feet, it’ll not be easy but if you can compete with the teams that go up with you and get a victory or two, it might be enough to keep you there for a season and hopefully we can build on that.”

Donegal outclassed their opponents in O’Donnell Park on Sunday from the 15th minute on and were well in control of the game, which pleased McCann.

“(The performance) was very good, for once we kept at it for the 70 minutes. It was five each after 15 minutes, nip and tuck, but we pulled away and put a wee gap between us.

“It’s something we are working on, to work for 70 minutes because we’ve been in and out of games, great spells then big momentum swings where we conceded a lot but it was good we put it altogether.

“It’s a young team out there and it’s great to enjoy the last 15 minutes.”

London brought it back to four points after the restart but Oisin Grant’s superb goal put Donegal well in control, and it was a first goal scored by the side since their opening league game against Wicklow.

“There was some nice hurling going on and passing through the lines, we had a problem with scoring goals, we went three games without a goal there and it’s not good enough but we’re getting the victories and it’s great to break that duck today.

“What a goal it was and he’s been brilliant for the last two weeks. He fielded some ball and his work rate, even on 60 minutes there he was chasing down the ball with us 12 or 14 points up.

“It’s great to see boys like that, we’re missing Ronan McDermott and he kind of replaces that leadership and work rate, along with a bit of quality so he has been a great find for us this year.

“The full-back line, like Steven McBride was so solid, that was a damn good player he was marking from Dublin.

“It was a good performance throughout the pitch and we have Tyrone next week and we know what they bring.

“There’s always nothing between us, it’ll not be as free flowing as that game (v London), it’ll be a lot more dogged. We know what they’re about and it’s great to get another game.”

Declan Coulter was warming up on the sideline before the game and was training separate from the squad pre-match, with McCann giving an update on his squad.

“He’s been training on his own this last couple of weeks and hopefully he’ll get a bit of game time next week, it could be a bit early and we’re not going to push it with Declan, we’ll take our time.

“I think we came through the day okay to be honest, no real injuries.”

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