'Derry speak for themselves and Monaghan are a really serious Championship team' - Donegal's Peadar Mogan
THERE aren’t many in the Donegal team who don’t already have Ulster medals but pacey wing-back Peadar Mogan is one of the names on a short list.
Mogan missed out on the successful 2018 and 2019 campaigns but he did play in the 2020 Ulster final loss to Cavan. Last Sunday’s hard-fought victory over the Breffnimen in Clones put that defeat to bed and earned Donegal a slot in this year’s provincial decider.
Now Mogan and his ever-hungry team-mates will be watching this weekend’s second semi-final between Monaghan and Derry with added interest.
Former Donegal manager Rory Gallagher inspired Derry to a resounding 11-point victory against reigning All-Ireland champions Tyrone in their quarter-final, while Seamus McEnaney’s Monaghan beat Down by 10 points with plenty to spare. They battle it out at the Athletic Grounds to decide who joins Donegal in the decider.
“Derry speak for themselves with the result they got against Tyrone,” said Mogan.
“They pushed us to the pins of our collars last year (Donegal won 0-16 to 0-15 at the quarter-final stage) and Monaghan are a really serious Championship team. Sunday will be a cracker of a game and we’re just looking forward to seeing who we get and we’ll prepare accordingly.”
Mogan was a late, but unsurprising, change to last Sunday’s published starting line-up. Donegal’s duel with Cavan was deadlocked for an hour until substitute Conor O’Donnell took a half-chance and stabbed the ball into the Breffni net to turn the game and put his name in lights. Caolan McGonagle also made an impression when he came on just after half-time and Mogan says their attitude typifies the spirit in the Donegal camp this season.
“We’re happy with the panel we have and boys are really pushing for place and that shows that you can’t rest on your laurels,” he said.
“Conor came in and scored a goal so he’s put his hand up now. We’re in a healthy position but it’s only one game and the teams on the other side of the draw are fabulous teams. It’s great to be in another Ulster final but we have to put the head down now for three weeks and see how we go.”
In terms of preparation for the final, Donegal had it too easy against Armagh in their quarter-final at Ballybofey but they were made to fight all the way in Clones against a determined Cavan side. O’Donnell’s goal and another from Paddy McBrearty eventually decided the issue and wiped out bad memories of Cavan catching Donegal cold in the 2020 final. Mogan says there was no talk of a ‘revenge mission’ before last Sunday’s meeting.
“You have to be careful with that stuff,” he said.
“You can’t be getting too emotional about it because then that takes over from the present. So you can’t focus on the past too much, it was a game that we wanted to win to get to the next step and it was tough, we knew it was going to be tough.
“We took nothing for granted because they were Ulster champions two years’ ago and they’re a really good Championship team regardless of where they are in the League.
“They should be way higher than they are and they pushed us all the way. They dominated the first half although we had a lot of wides and the shot-selection wasn’t great and they hit everything.
“Credit to them, they went hammer-and-tongs at us from they came out but goals win games and whatever way you get them doesn’t matter, you might get them fortuitously but we’ll take them.”