GAA Football

Ref and the tactical takes from the Ulster final

Donegal's Ciaran Thompson on the attack in yesterday's Ulster Champioship Final at Clones. Picture: Seamus Loughran.
Andy Watters

Ref watch

Conor Lane (Cork)

THERE were only four bookings in what was a relatively mild-mannered game and referee Lane did his best to keep it flowing by playing the advantage when he could. The yellow card to Neil McGee early on set the tone for his no-nonsense approach. One of his linesmen attracted the ire of the Donegal bench for giving a sideline ball to Cavan but Lane emerged unscathed.

Tactical Take


DECLAN Bonner got his match-ups right yesterday and once again cut his cloth to suit. Odhran McFadden Ferry had never featured – either as a sub or a starter - for Donegal at senior level but he was given his debut yesterday and did well.

Utilised the energy of Niall O’Donnell to pick up Conor Moynagh and Paddy McGrath never allowed Martin Reilly to get into the game. Shaun Patton’s accurate restarts continue to bear fruit and the Cavan attack ran out of ideas when they were confronted by Donegal’s half-back line in a defence which was superbly marshalled by sweeper Hugh McFadden.

Exploited pockets of space in the Cavan defence by controlling the ball in midfield and then sending runners from deep straight down the middle.


THE Breffnimen had a go and fought to the end and, although this was a reality check, there no reason they shouldn’t come again. Padraig Faulkner, Jason McLaughlin and Killian Clarke are good defenders but they found Paddy McBrearty, Jamie Brennan and Michael Murphy to be real handfuls.

Meanwhile, the Cavan forward could not get into it. Their running game failed to punch holes in the Donegal defence in the first half and they reverted to a more direct approach in the second half to get Dara McVeety into the game. It worked but the horse had bolted by then.

The Breffnimen, understandably, started nervously and were never able to recover from their uncertain start.


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