GAA Football

Eamon Doherty: Donegal in a good place ahead of Mayo crunch clash

Donegal's Eamonn Doherty fends off Kerrys Adrian Spillane in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship clash at Croke Park, Dublin on Sunday July 21 2019. Picture by Seamus Loughran.
Gerry McLaughlin

It is no easy task being told to try and fill the footsteps of the great Neil McGee, Paddy McGrath and Eoghan Ban Gallagher.

But, experienced St Eunan’s star Eamon Doherty did just that in the cauldron that was Croke Park on Sunday.

And, he stood firm as Kerry hit Donegal in bewildering green and gold waves at various times in this classic.

This was Doherty’s first start, but the calm, reflective and measured Letterkenny man played a real part in making sure the defence was not breache.

The Kerry goal came from a mix up not involving Doherty, who frankly admitted that even though Donegal levelled this match with a pointed free from Michael Muphy, he was, on balance, “disappointed”.

“We are disappointed, and we did have a few chances to win it and then Kerry had quite a few chances as well,'' he said.

“But they got the rub of the green for their goal as the ball just broke lovely to Paul Geaney and we had a goal disallowed which was the right decision as it was a throw ball, but it turned on those little.

“We are happy overall with the display, but at the same time you can’t escape that other niggling feeling that we left it behind somewhat.”

But on the plus side Donegal refused to die and hit their equalising point in the fifth minute of injury time.

“Yes that is encouraging and we went three points down when they got the goal and there are lots of positives,'' added Doherty.

“But you are getting to the stage of the season where it is small percentages that decides matters and we need to look at the small things that did not go our way.

“That is what we will be focusing on ahead of the Mayo match.”

But Donegal performed very well given the number of absentees from last week’s game.

“If you look at it from last week, there were three or four changes, so it just shows the strength in depth we have and the desire that is there to wear the green and gold,'' he stated.

“And Brendan McCole came in there at the end for his first start as well so we know from training that there are 30 boys who could go on.

“The training is very competitive and all 30 know the jobs they have to do.

“We have no doubt that whatever 15 is picked can do the job for Donegal on any given day.”.

Doherty agreed that while it would have been “heart-breaking” to lose he stressed that Donegal were “not happy”.

“You might say content, but it is not bad way to be going into the last game against Mayo, as both teams need to win it and it will be in an interesting encounter.

“But we are in a good place and we will get the bodies right and see how we are then in Castlebar.”

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