It was mission accomplished and now move on the next challenge for Donegal manager Shaun Paul Barrett after yesterday’s minor final win over Derry.
The Milford clubman, in his first year in the job, had just guided Donegal to a seventh Ulster Minor Championship crown and first since 2014 with the 2-10 to 1-11 victory over Derry, the reigning champions.
“It is absolutely brilliant; it is something that we have been working towards all year,” said the Donegal boss, who has also masterminded success at Buncrana Cup and McGuigan Cup level.
“It was good to win though we would be a bit disappointed that we did not play as well we feel we can. But there were a lot of nerves out there today. Ulster final day is a big day.
“But they are a great bunch of lads. They showed great character out there just like they have done all year especially after getting off to a poor start and allowing Derry race into an early 0-4 to 0-0 lead.
I'm proud of them. Proud of every single one of them on the panel; they are a magnificent group of players.”
Barrett put Donegal’s poor opening quarter, which allowed Derry dominate for most of the quarter, down to nerves.
“They were nervous at the start which is natural I suppose; it was an Ulster final.
“There is a lot of pressure on these lads, they were hyped up, everybody is expecting them to do well especially after their performance the last day against Monaghan in the semi-final
“But at the end of the day they showed well in the second half and pushed on in the second half.”
And the manager was in no doubt but that J D Boyle’s goal in the middle of the first half kick started the Donegal challenge.
“The goal from J D Boyle was a brilliant goal and brought us right back into the game and in fact drew us level just at a time when the game seemed to be slipping away from us.
“Up to that we found it hard to get our hand on the ball around the middle of the field, fair play to Derry they had a lot done on their kickouts.
“We have two brilliant midfielders but the thing is the ball was not coming out to them in the early stages in the first half but we gradually got into the game, but the goal was the big lift.”
Nathan Boyle scored Donegal’s second goal towards the end of the third quarter to push the lead out to six points.
“I felt we were in complete control after the second goal. But fair play to Derry, they regrouped and hit us for a couple of scores and got back into the game.
“They were the Ulster champions. They came to Clones today to defend their title and they got the goal to bring them right back into the game.”
The fact that Donegal were wayward in their shooting especially in the first half did not overly concern the boss.
“We have scored a lot all year and Niall O'Donnell carried us through this today. That is something we are happy with; we are the Ulster champions and looking forward to an All-Ireland quarter-final.”
Donegal will play Cork, the Munster runners-up, in the All-Ireland quarter final. That game is in two weeks time, on Saturday week.
“That is what we have been aiming for all year and now that we are there we are really looking forward to it.”
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