Donegal manager Declan Bonner has no complaints after loss to Dublin
All-Ireland SFC quarter-final, Group Two
Dublin 2-15 Donegal 0-16
FOR beaten Donegal boss Declan Bonner Saturday evening was a pretty steep learning curve as he watched his young side conquered by a Dublin outfit that were thoroughly deserving victors without being in any way convincing.
The All-Ireland champs did what they had to do in their first real test of the summer, but they will face a much more feisty encounter with Tyrone in Omagh on Saturday night.
“We came up to get a result and we had opportunities and we just did not take them and at this level goals win matches and Niall Scully’s goals won this match,” said Bonner.
So what did he think of Dublin?
''They are not All-Ireland champions for the past three years for nothing,'' he said.
“They are a quality side and as good a Gaelic football team that ever graced a GAA ground.
“From our point of view we just did not get to the levels that we reached in the Ulster Championship.
“We spoke about how it would be about small margins. We had a few goal chances and we did not take them and Dublin took two chances and that was the difference.”
So, would Paddy McBrearty have made a difference?
“Yes, well we won’t have him for the next nine months and he is a great miss to us.
“He is always capable of hitting six or seven points in a game but all the lads did their best out there.”
Bonner agreed that it was a “learning curve” for young keeper Shaun Patton, whose kick-outs could have cost Donegal dearly but for his brilliant saves.
“Dublin squeezed the kick-outs and it was a learning curve for Shaun.
“He had a real good Ulster campaign and was outstanding and we knew that Dublin would be forcing our kick-outs and that was a huge factor in the game, not just our kick-outs but Stephen Cluxton’s kick-outs. Stephen was getting his away very smartly and they won the kick-out battle hands down.”
Bonner's focus now switches to a must-win match with Roscommon in Hyde Park on Saturday night.
“We will take the positives from going up here tonight,'' he added.
“We have a lot of young lads who don’t often meet a side of the quality of Dublin and our attention now has to turn to Saturday evening against Roscommon in Hyde Park.”
The Donegal boss saluted a superior Dublin side.
‘They were very composed and they closed it out pretty well and kept possession of the ball pretty well also.
“They squandered a lot of chances and so did we, but the goals were crucial in this game.
“I would not be entirely happy with our display and that is something we must work on for next week.”.
He added: “It is a balancing act for next week with lads who played and lads who did not play.
‘For now, we will get the laptops out and start analysing and preparing for Roscommon and we know we need to get a result there.”