Monday 20 May 2019

'It was time for the younger fellas to stand up and deliver' - Gallagher

Eoin Bán Gallagher. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick/Sportsfile
Eoin Bán Gallagher. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Nobody typifies Donegal's change in style and increased emphasis on attack more than Eoghan Bán Gallagher.

Wearing No 4 on his back, Gallagher bombs forward at regular intervals and hit the crucial opening goal in their Ulster SFC final victory over Fermanagh on Sunday.

It highlights the massive alteration in approach under Declan Bonner with Ryan McHugh, Paddy McGrath and Paul Brennan also on the scoresheet as the starting defenders accounted for 2-4.

One of the most pleasing aspects for Gallagher, however, is the emergence of Donegal's new breed as the over-reliance on inspirational captain Michael Murphy and talismanic forward Patrick McBrearty looks like a thing of the past.

"The older fellas were dragging us along there for long enough, it was time for us younger fellas to step up and realise that we are a big part of the team, everyone's in it together rowing behind the one boat," Gallagher said.

After provincial final defeats in 2015 and 2016, the Killybegs defender was keen to make amends and collect his first Anglo-Celt Cup in his fourth inter-county season.

"We fell well short last year and it was a tough place to be but it's great to finally be back in the All-Ireland quarter-finals having gone through the front door.


"It's the worst dressing-room in the world to be in, a losing dressing-room of an Ulster final. I've been in three now, one U-21 and two senior, it's all doom and gloom. All I've ever dreamt of was going up the steps in Clones, it's the best feeling in the world."

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Gallagher, who spent a ­fortnight with ­AFL's Brisbane Lions last August, lauded Donegal's strength in depth and can't wait for their next test against All-Ireland champions Dublin in their Super 8s opener.

"That'll be enjoyable, that's where you want to be playing the Dubs in Croke Park because it means you're at a good stage and we'll take that game as it comes," Gallagher said.

They face an anxious wait to see if McBrearty will be available, however, having undergone a scan yesterday on the injury which forced him off three minutes into the second half.

McBrearty was on crutches as a precaution having picked up a heavy knock to the leg when kicking a fine point just before half-time.

Bonner admitted that the injury "doesn't look great" in the aftermath of the game and the Kilcar attacker faces a race against time to make their mouth-watering clash with the Dubs on July 14/15.

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