Delighted Donegal minor manager Shaun Paul Barrett believes Ulster has very strong representation with both his side and Derry going forward into the All Ireland series.
The Oak Leafers can now look forward to a trip to headquarters to meet Kerry on July 31st and Barrett belives both Derry and Donegal are equipped to do well.
“I think it’s a great reflection on Ulster football that we now have two such talented sides going into the All-Ireland series,” said Barrett after Sunday’s 2-10 to 1-11 victory. “Derry certainly put it up to us but we managed to hold out. I’m overjoyed with the win and, hopefully, we can kick on from here.”
“I thought that Derry enjoyed good success with their kick-outs and they came at us strongly but I think we showed character and resolve just the same.”
Meanwhile, Derry manager Damian McErlain said his players would recover this week before regrouping for the challenge of Kerry
“Disappointed, absolutely. You don’t get a chance to go to an Ulster final too often but credit to Donegal. They got the goal chances at the right time in each half to keep us at arm’s length,” said McErlain.
“We got off to a great start. Everything we talked about worked and, then, with the heat, our energy levels dropped a bit but you have to take it on the chin and go back to the drawing board. We have Kerry now to prepare for in a couple of weeks time in an All Ireland semi-final.
“It’s disappointing not to take the title back to Derry but the boys can be proud. It was a very competitive game. Donegal are a quality side; well organised as you would expect. They got the breaks on the day. The score count, in terms of the number of score each side took, was pretty much even but again goals win matches.”
The Magherafelt man said it was frustrating his team hadn’t been at their best but said you had to recognise the quality of Donegal as well.
Frustrated that, perhaps, it wasn’t your best display of the championship?
“Frustrated? Absolutely. But we weren’t playing Donegal any other day of the week and they are a quality side. You can only play as well as you are allowed or as well as your energy allows you to in terms of the heat.
“I have no complaints about the effort of the players. It was just the execution in the final third and getting turned over more often than you would want to be with Donegal capitalising - that was the killer.
“They have a number of good forwards. If they are getting ball coming at them, like they were on the break, they’re very dangerous. Niall O’Donnell is a class player. No one knows the job Eoghan Concannon did on him. Niall O’Donnell was still very good and it is damage limitation at times with him. That has nothing to do with who is marking him.”