independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Donegal the shut-out kings

DONEGAL'S defensive security in this year's Ulster championship was so effective that it simply demanded to be compared with other famous shut-out operations.

Donegal conceded a remarkably small average of 8.75 points per game against Antrim, Cavan, Tyrone and Derry, which was the lowest in Ulster since 1993 when Derry's average giveaway was 8.66 points.

However, that was over three games and there were other extenuating circumstances in '93 in that the final was won on a 0-8 to 0-6 scoreline (Derry beat Donegal) on a day when weather conditions were so awful that the game should have been postponed.

Prior to that, you have to go back to 1966 for the next lowest tally, when Down conceded an average of only 5.66 points en route to the Ulster title. However, that was over three one-hour games.

That Donegal conceded an average of less than 0-9 over four games this year underlines just how solid their defensive set-up has become under Jim McGuinness.

It's all very different to the easily-picked locks they used against Armagh in last year's qualifiers when being hit for 2-14.

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