Sunday 11 December 2016

McBrearty gives Donegal real hope

Published 01/08/2016 | 02:30

Donegal's Patrick McBrearty scores a point despite the challenge from Cork's Colm O'Driscoll. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Donegal's Patrick McBrearty scores a point despite the challenge from Cork's Colm O'Driscoll. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

It took a brilliant one-man show from Patrick McBrearty to steer Donegal into a quarter-final spot against Dublin on Saturday and I have seen very few better exhibitions of scoring at this level of the game in my time.

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A staggering 11 points, seven from play, is something we rarely see in these days of massed defences and I have no doubt the Dublin think-tanks will be working overtime to ensure that does not happen when Donegal play the Dubs on Saturday.

The other remarkable aspect to this Donegal defeat of Cork was the scoreline of 21 points racked up by the Donegal team, a figure rarely achieved by a county whose forte is confining the scoring rate of opposing teams.

And this was no smash-and-grab raid either because Donegal scored 11 points in the first half and ten in the second.

Of course one has to ask what the Cork defence and their backroom team were at during this game to allow such a scoring frenzy by their opponents, particularly as Cork had more than their share of possession for three,quarters of the game.

The decisive issue in this result was the experience and cuteness of Donegal when the result was in the balance in the final ten minutes.

Most of the players are five years in the go at the highest level and while that may yet be their undoing when they face Dublin, it certainly proved the difference in a very exciting encounter on Saturday; indeed it was one of the most enjoyable games of 2016 before yesterday's second game.

In 24 minutes from the 51st to 75th minute, Donegal scored 0-6 to a paltry 0-1 from Cork. A very bad year for Cork's footballers who are now in Division 2. For Donegal, there is still hope for 2016.

Irish Independent

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