The Donegal U-21 manager, Declan Bonner, was looking relieved as he spoke to the press after the Eirgrid Ulster U-21 quarter final in MacCumhaill Park.
He had just watched his side squander a six point lead and then hit back in a tension packed last ten minutes to secure a one point victory.
“We were happy with the first half. We moved the ball well. The boys were playing to the plan. It’s a 60 minute game and some of the substitutions were pre-planned because of the running that has to be done.
“Once Derry got the goal, they were back into it at a three point match. The second goal, from our point of view was a real horrendous goal. If it was an U-12 match, you would be given out stick. Nobody took responsibility,” said Bonner.
“It would have been a terrible way to lose that championship match.
“In fairness to the lads we did show bottle in the end. They stuck at it,” said Bonner, who added that he had spoke to the boys beforehand of losing the minor match against Derry last summer and that he would be happy to win by a point.
“Eoghan Ban (Gallagher) was outstanding. He drove at them all evening. Stephen McBrearty too. In the end we took the fight to them. We had a spell of 15-20 minutes midway through the second half and we let Derry back. And we gave away to very terrible goals.
“In championship football against decent sides, they are going to punish. We got out of jail this evening and we played reasonably well for 40 minutes of that game.
“But you’ve got to play for 60 minutes. We will have to do that against Tyrone in two weeks’ time or it will not be good enough.
“It’s great to get over the line and to be facing Tyrong. Tyrone will be favourites now but it is a good challenge to look forward to,” said Declan Bonner.
Asked about the referee and the added time, Bonner said he had no real issues. “From our point of view, we are just glad to get over the line.”
Looking forward, Bonner said he would talk to the players and meet up again on Friday to plan for the semi-final.
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