Roscommon was a wake up call - McLoone

Roscommon was a wake up call - McLoone

Donegal football followers were somewhat dejected as they departed O’Donnell Park on Sunday evening following a five a point Allianz League defeat to Roscommon.

Aftermall it was a second defeat in-a-row and coming in the wake of a five point trimming down in Kerry, many of the green and gold clad brigade were struggling to come up with answers.

The defeats came in the wake of the three opening victories over Down, Cork and Mayo when Donegal seemed to have their Mojo back and had regained the sparkle and flair of that great run in summer 2012 to All-Ireland glory.

Despondency was most definitely in the air.

But one man who watched the game with great interest was former star forward of the 1960s, Mickey McLoone from Ballyshannon.

“I’m not despondent at all. Yeah I’m disappointed we lost and I would have preferred if we had won and were looking forward to a league semi-final,” said Mickey, who feels that Donegal can take something from their last two games against Dublin and Monaghan and still make the last four.

“All along I did feel that we flattered to deceive in our three opening games against Down, Cork and Mayo, especially in the Down and Cork games.

“In fairness against Mayo, I thought we showed tremendous character to come back in the second half to win by two points against a Mayo team that were up for the game.”

Donegal suffered their first defeat against Kerry on Sunday week last in Tralee. Kerry won. that game by 1-13 to 1-8.

“Against Kerry we fell into a trap and lost our discipline. Kerry were in our faces from the word go and we lost our discipline though I thought Leo McLoone was very unfortunate to be sent off.

“Our discipline let us down again on Sunday against Roscommon. We again lost Odhran MacNiallais. Eamonn McGee and Anthony Thompson all picked up early yellow cards against Roscommon and had to be replaced in fear of picking up second yellows.

“This is something Rory Gallagher and his management team are going to have to address when they sit down to access what happened on Sunday.

“We cannot take away from Roscommon, they played very well. They were very energetic and they played the game at championship pace.

“They really carved us open in the second quarter and they should have been further than five points ahead at half-time. They could easily have scored a couple of goals.

“They have serious pace and I was amazed to see Ryan and Eoin McHugh matched by pace by the markers. Ryan and Eoin are usually able to burn off their markers but that was not the case on Sunday.

“Roscommon were sharper and had the greater hunger and I think it was very important that Donegal are not playing with such intensity at this time of the year.

“It was a real wake up call and much better to have a game like it rather than saunter into a league semi-final without being tested and weakness shown up.

“The big lessons to be learned from Sunday is that we have problems in defence that need sorting out. In the last few years we got players back in numbers and I don’t know if Rory wants to go down that road again.

“But we have problems at the back that need sorting. We are going to have to find more scoring power up front to support Michael Murphy. Patrick McBrearty, who is a player I rate highly, should be a ready made replacement for Colm McFadden.

“McFadden and Murphy were a very effective partnership but we also need to find a few more forwards that are capable chipping in with a few scores a game.

“Hopefully the U-21s get a run in the championship and it throws up a few fresh faces and we have Neil McGee, Frank McGlynn, Karl Lacey back in the defence and Leo McLoone back, I would be quite hopeful for 2016.

“It is for that reason I didn’t leave O’Donnell Park despondent on Sunday evening. I saw it as a wake up call.” said McLoone.

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