GAA Football

Cassidy: Unfair to criticised Donegal's approach to Kerry game

Donegal's Jason McGee struggled from a lack of service against Kerry at the weekend but former county star Kevin Cassidy says it is unfair to be overly critical of the Tir Chonaill team's performance

STRONG criticism of Donegal's somewhat “lethargic” display against Kerry is a “little unfair”, according to ex-county star Kevin Cassidy.

There has been considerable criticism of Tir Chonaill's failure to launch direct ball into the perceived weakness in the Kerry full-back line when they had the aid of a gale force wind, but Cassidy says there is an explanation for this.

“I think the criticism after the Kerry match is a little bit unfair," said Cassidy.

“Going down there, if I was Declan Bonner, I would say we already have three points and we are relatively comfortable and we still have three games to go and obviously you are not going to risk Michael Langan and Caolan McGonagle. I really did not expect a lot more from Donegal."

Donegal did have the towering Jason McGee on the edge of the square but he got very little ball which prompted some reaction.

“The way the lads have been used to being coached and they are used to having Michael [Murphy], Patrick [McBrearty] and Jamie Brennan inside," added Cassidy.

“So to just turn it around and to find another target inside is just not natural to them and even thought there was a breeze there, they are probably going to stick to the way they will be playing down the line. It is very hard to say that just because there is a strong breeze that we will just abandon everything we have been doing."

Cassidy feels that the trip to the Kingdom was always going to be a difficult one to mine some League points from and so believes that Bonnar had to be measured in his approach and not deviate too far from their normal gameplan with a crucial game against Tyrone coming up on Saturday night.

He said: "I think it was not a case of damage limitation, but I think that deep down Donegal knew they were not going to win it and they were going to use it to see what they could get out of it and take it from there.

“It was a chance to give a few young lads a try out against Kerry and every manager sits down at the start of the year and looks at all the games and picks his team accordingly.

“I know there has been a fair bit of criticism from Kerry, but I think that next Saturday is much more important and Donegal really need to turn up.

“If they don't, the question marks will hang over. We are at home in Ballybofey which is a big plus, and we haven't been beaten there since 2010. And I would not be surprised if the lads had one eye on Saturday night.

The Red Hands did record their first League win against Kildare at the weekend and Cassidy believes they will be eagerly anticipating the clash with their western neighbours at the weekend.

“They probably had one eye on this fixture as well and knew they were missing the four lads and Mattie Donnelly was also missing [against Kildare]," he said.

“I would say they will be at full strength for this one in Ballybofey,which is hard to get anything out of.

“Saturday night's game is important for Declan Bonner for if were to lose that one, then, all of a sudden, question marks arise.

“I was glad that Michael Murphy was not in Killarney as had he been there, it would have showed how much we are depending on him.

“I expect to see him playing and he will want to play, and we will need him to play."

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GAA Football