We missed two half-chances for goals. We didn’t create enough goal chances, due to their blanket and the fact that our tactics let them do that. Agree with the rest but Donegal’s tactics were very good, they kept their discipline, yes got some breaks, but even before they got the break with the goal they pushed up and kicked three points that got them right back in the game. This also disproved once and for all the mantra that if you got a lead against Donegal and were good enough they couldn’t deal with it.
With the score at 09-06 even if Donegal didn’t get the lucky goal, they were going to continue to play their game as it had already kept them well in touch. Stop us getting goals, which they did because we didn’t create any really clear chances, and eventually with our tactics, they would get a goal that would turn the game into a dog-fight of attack Vs counter-attack, which is what would have suited them anyway.
In other words even if they didn’t get the lucky goal I think they would have beaten us by about 2-3 that day because ultimately a they would have defended a small lead like dogs in the last 10 or less minutes, whereas we wouldn’t have. Their tactics would have worked, ours wouldn’t have drawn them out with 15 or 10 to go even if we were two or three up. We would have needed a goal, which meant we needed alot more patience, and not to concede 3 goals. They knew at all costs don’t let us get a goal and a big lead, or a goal later in the game with them no time to make it up. They always knew they’d get chances on the counter etc when we had to step back at times.
Lack of flexibility with us, and they had enough flexibility (since 2012). Now I admired what Jim and the team tried to do, it was a point of principle and consistency for them, not to back down or be too fearful of playing their game, that was the context of that time for them. They gave it their best shot and didn’t get the breaks. I’ve always wondered though, let’s say we got a goal before them, 6-8 points up, would they have panicked? Or, either way, would they have got a goal back very quickly considering the way we were defending?
We felt the loss of a couple of our key warriors that day, as well as possibly another major player on the field not entirely fit to play his best. Those were big factors too. And the other great imponderable, say we blew Donegal away, what would have happened Vs Kerry?