BY CHRIS MCNULTY
COLM McFadden was encouraged by Sunday’s win over Antrim – but says it will count for nothing unless the Anglo-Celt is aboard the bus in four weeks’ time.
The St Michael’s man saw young-guns Darach O’Connor and Odhrán MacNiallais bag 1-6 to gun down the Saffrons and fire Donegal into their fourth Ulster final in a row.
After losing their crown last summer in the final – and missing out on a three-in-a-row – when they lost to Monaghan, Donegal are on a mission again.
“The important thing is that we’re going to the final to try and win it,” McFadden said.
“We’ll hopefully get a good bit of work in over the next four weeks.
“It’s nice to be back into an Ulster final, especially after getting beaten in it last year. It’s nice to get back in with a chance to regain the title. We know it’ll be a tough one no matter who comes out of next week’s semi-final.”
O’Connor showed a piece of class for his second-half goal and MacNiallais swung over four points in a polished display.
McFadden said: “They’re two mighty players. Young Darach has an eye for the goal and it was a great finish by him there. Odhrán chipped in with a couple of points.
“It’s great to see the young lads doing well. It was encouraging that we had a good few scorers there too.”
The big score, though, was Leo McLoone’s goal in the 42nd minute. The Glenties man, for the second game in a row, provided the defining moment.
McFadden said: “It was the same as the one against Derry only he came in from the opposite wing. He’s very good in those situations, very clinical. It was going to be hard for them to bounce back. They seemed to drop the heads after that.”
There was a growing sense of unease among the Donegal faithful at half-time when the sides were level at 0-7 apiece, when the fear of an upset was still alive. Those fears were firmly eased as Donegal took control.
McFadden said: “They made it tough in fairness to them. They kicked some mighty scores too and they deserved to be level a half-time. We missed a lot of chances and forced a lot of shots too.
“Thankfully we started the second half pretty well and it was kind of similar to the Derry game. Leo got the goal again and we never looked back.
“They were hard to break down, but you expect that in Ulster Championship football. Any team in Ulster will make life hard and it was tough going in the first half.
“It opened up in the second half and we were able to push on and get the scores.”