After the disappointing loss to Galway at the weekend there have been many inquests held by supporters over the last few days.
The Galway defeat came after Donegal threw away a seven point lead. The result means that Donegal are on three points and already there seems to be a dogfight in Division One for both the final places and for relegation with seven teams separated by one point.
While Donegal had a 10 point win away to Meath in Navan the previous week, Sunday last was a major disappointment and given that another point was thrown away in the opening game against Mayo by conceding a last minute goal, the big talking point was whether Donegal are now in a battle for relegation.
Speaking to the Donegal Democrat this week former Donegal All-Ireland winner, Sylvester Maguire, agrees that Declan Bonner's men have put themselves in an awkward position.
‘’It’ll not be easy. Looking at the table, it could very much come down to the last game. Some of the those games, home games against Monaghan and Tyrone are going to be vitally important. But we are in a better position than some. There’s no reason why we can’t take something from Croke Park or Tralee or wherever it’s going to be played.’’
But he thinks that we should be confident as we have a young, strong side and thinks Donegal will stay up. ‘’We threw away a game last Sunday that we should’ve won, but we should be very confident, we’ve got a good strong squad with players coming back from injury, I think we’re going to be okay in Division 1," said Maguire.
REASON FOR DEFEAT
Asked what was the reason for the defeat on Sunday and if there were areas that Donegal can improve on, he was pretty specific.
‘’Well the wind blew too strong for the last kick. There seems to have been a few strange decisions made (by the referee); our defence was poor, they literally waltzed through for their two goals, that shouldn’t have happened.
"Murphy’s equalising point with the fisted score, there was no angle that has decided that he was in before the ball was played, and I’d be very surprised with a man of his ability and experience that he wouldn’t have held his run and once the ball was up in the air. And it was obvious on the day that the Galway sideline had a major say in it, that both the official and the linesman were put under pressure and weren’t too certain about it.
"There was a stone wall penalty that was picked up off the ground that everyone in the ground seen apart the referee and two umpires. But look, we’ve got a lot of young players coming through and it will take a wee while for them to learn how to close out games and take them a wee while to close down the middle, but we can’t afford to give away goals like that and expect to win games.’’
Donegal have an extra week to recover before they head to Croke Park to take on Dublin in their next game. Asked about how Donegal will fare in that game, Maguire says:
‘’There’s no reason we can’t go there and get a result. Dublin are the All-Ireland champions, if they have a full side they would be favourites, but you don’t know what side Dublin is going to put out. Croke Park is a great place for them but you know it’s not a strange venue for most of our players; it’s very nearly like a second home to them which is magnificent. And it’s all to do with the approach and the attitude and sure you go out and have a cut at them and see what happens. If they put in the performance and work hard on the night there’s no reason why we can’t come out of there with a result," says Maguire.
Donegal final games in the National Football League are home to Monaghan in Ballyshannon (March 1), home to Tyrone in Ballybofey (March 14) and away to Kerry in Tralee (March 22).
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