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Paul Curran: Great to see end of pathetic Donegal

How do you begin to analyse what we saw in Croke Park yesterday? The biggest attendance of the year unfortunately had to sit through 70-odd minutes of pure rubbish.

It was no surprise to hear the Dublin supporters voicing their disapproval by booing the opposition after just 20 minutes. With limited scoring opportunities for both teams it was always going to be a long afternoon for the Dubs, but to be fair to them they still managed to get through in the end.

The players deserve a huge amount of credit for sticking to their guns and seeing the game out and, for me, this performance was far more enjoyable and meant a lot more than the outstanding victory against Tyrone in the last round.

What it proves beyond any doubt is that this Dublin team has learned from the heartbreaking, close defeats in semi-finals over the last few years and are now the genuine article.

The proof that they are now a meaner, more disciplined and mentally stronger unit came in the last 12 minutes when they still trailed by a point and were reduced to 14 men.

In the past, if that happened, the team would almost certainly have imploded further, but if anything, the sending off of Diarmuid Connolly galvanised the group and they somehow managed to kick three points without reply and send the supporters into ecstasy.

It was certainly a game to forget and my advice would be to bin the tape as the challenge the next day will be a very different one. Kerry will come to Croke Park to outscore Dublin and that should make for a more open game.

That, of course, is another day's work and it is something to look forward to for all Dublin supporters and of course the players and everyone involved in the background.

For Donegal and Jim McGuinness they will look at what they can do to improve going forward but nobody outside the county would look forward to seeing them again.

The tactics are ultra negative but the difference yesterday was that class ultimately wins out and for the sake of the game going forward it is important that opposing teams find a way to break them down, just as Dublin managed to do.

I have never witnessed anything like the Donegal style of defensive play with 12 players behind the ball for most of the game.

It is frustrating to play against but it is also pathetic to watch and if this is the way Gaelic football is going then you can have it.

I wouldn't be paying any money in to see it again and I laugh when people say that it is all about results. The game was always about results – that part of it hasn't changed since day one – but unfortunately the northern teams have tried to squeeze the life out of the game we all love.

Gaelic football is a highly skilful game with outstanding players who have graced the game, but if teams like Donegal have their way there will be no room for the Gooch Coopers of this world as managers will go for the more physical player who might be better at breaking the defensive door down.


The responsibly of coaches is to promote the game and develop the skills, but one could argue that no skill is required to play the way Donegal set up to play. All you need is big, strong men in defence and fast runners and away you go.

The GAA must be delighted that Dublin found a way

yesterday as another horror show in three weeks’ time would have done nothing for the game. The Dublin players can now look

forward to a first final

appearance in 16 years.

The scramble for the golden tickets has started already with the world and her mother wanting to be there for what will be an occasion to savour.

The Dublin minor footballers will also be there after a very good win against a brave Galway team. Just under three weeks and counting.