BY CHRIS MCNULTY
“WE are seventy minutes away from an All-Ireland final.”
The words of Jim McGuinness are spine-tingling as the Glenties man gets his Donegal side ready to face All-Ireland champions and title favourites Dublin in a mouth-watering All-Ireland semi-final on August 31st at Croke Park.
While Donegal scraped over Armagh by the skins of their teeth, Dublin gave Monaghan an almighty hammering, but McGuinness believes his side will be awoken by the scare of almost losing as it took late points from the captain Michael Murphy and Patrick McBrearty to see off Armagh.
“We know what is ahead of us,” McGuinness told the Donegal News.
“We feel that there is a lot more in us. We will be doing everything in our power to get over the line. The dust has settled on this game now and there is a new game to be won.”
August 31 will be a massive day for Donegal and Dublin. Their respective minor teams will meet in the All-Ireland minor semi-final, a game that will be the curtain-raiser for the senior fixture between the counties.
Upwards of 20,000 Donegal supporters were said to have been in Croke Park on Saturday to see the nervous 1-12 to 1-11 win over Armagh.
“When we have that amount of people going down the road to support us, we want to put in a performance that is worthy of their support,” McGuinness said.
“We don’t feel that we did that against Armagh, but we still won the game. When we were coming back down the road, we stopped at a filling station in Monaghan and it was great to see so many people just delighted that we’d won.
“We’ll hope to give them another big day out. As I say, we’re 70 minutes from an All-Ireland final. That’s the reality for us and that’s where we’re aiming to get to.”
Meanwhile, Armagh midfielder Aaron Findon telephoned Donegal to apologise for an incident in the first half of Saturday’s game that saw him shove Donegal team doctor, Mr Kevin Moran, to the ground. Findon’s apology was welcomed by the Donegal management.
DECLAN BONNER will look to collect the first piece of silverware from his second tenure in charge of Donegal.