Earned Not Given
Romance was well and truly alive no matter who prevailed from this year’s All Ireland Senior Football Championship Final, viagra sale but as an absorbing game between Donegal and Mayo came and went, the inevitability that it was Donegal’s year and that they would realise manager Jim McGuinness’ greatest ambitions for the county was palpable as soon as captain Michael Murphy unleashed a ferocious strike beyond Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke in the second minute. For the first time since 1992, the All Ireland will be brought back to Donegal and deservedly so after the scalp of Tyrone, Down, Kerry and Cork this year on their way to Sam. It was abject misery for luckless Mayo once more, but as the scoreline of 2-11 0-13 showed, the Connaught champions showed greater character than in any previous final defeats in recent years.
It was a wholly scripted victory for Jim McGuinness’ men. Counter attack at pace through marquee men Karl Lacey, Mark McHugh and Rory Kavanagh, kick the ball long to the elusive Colm McFadden and the aforementioned Murphy, and protect the house through Neil McGee, Frank McGlynn and whoever else it took. Mayo got their marking wrong in their full back line in the first 15 minutes, with Murphy dominant against corner back Kevin Keane. The favourites raced into a 2-1 0-0 lead, the second goal coming from McFadden, and were crisper to the ball in the opening exchanges and ruthless when opportunities presented themselves.
For Mayo fans, it was a case of déjà vu after a similarly disastrous start in the 2006 final against Kerry was the catalyst to a comprehensive drubbing, however James Horan’s charges responded well in a second quarter onslaught. UCD student Kevin McLoughlin and Aidan O’Shea were inspirational in leading the recovery, and exceptional scores from Michael Conroy and placed kicking from Cillian O’Connor left a 3 point 2-4 0-7 half time deficit. Unforced errors, panic-stricken foot passing and a strange tactical move from Donegal to manoeuvre Michael Murphy nearer the middle of the field also aided this.
However, 3 points was as close a deficit as Mayo could manage as Donegal effectively held them off without being hugely impressive in the second half. Colm McFadden profited from being the final chain in Donegal’s patient hand passing game, helping himself to 1-4. Wayward shooting and tired legs from Mayo meant that their challenged petered out despite the best efforts of centre half back Donal Vaughan and Aidan O’Shea in particular.
It was a magnificent half of end-to-end football, but Donegal consolidated their lead whenever they needed to and were content to win by 3 or 4 points. Murphy also ended up with 1-4 and midfielder Neil Gallagher’s point after 60 minutes a neatly choreographed move was the last nail in the coffin.
As with all ends to a barren run, the Sam Maguire trophy will bring with it an emotional tsunami set to sweep over the hills of Donegal in the coming weeks and with some justification. Jim McGuinness deservedly takes most of the plaudits after reinvigorating this group of men and always accentuating the positive. As the team’s young leader Michael Murphy has now immortalised in a gracious victory speech, “Jimmy’s Winning Matches” and is set to do so for some time to come.
– Conall Devlin