HomeFootball‘We were watching the hurling and it was amazing, amazing’ – Jim...

‘We were watching the hurling and it was amazing, amazing’ – Jim McGuinness and Donegal inspired by Munster epic


Related stories


Having delivered Ulster titles in 2011, 2012 and 2014 McGuinness was coaxed back by the persistence of the Donegal players who hounded him in the days after their All-Ireland qualifier exit last year.

But it was all justified as they came through the tougher side of the draw to beat Derry, Tyrone and Armagh, three (2025) Division 1 teams.

“The quality of Derry, Tyrone, a team that walked around that pitch. They knew the big day, they’ve won All-Irelands. And double extra time. It’s the toughest we’ve had,” he said.

Donegal were four points down but stayed in the game as Armagh reluctance grew and after winning the shootout 6-5 when goalkeeper Shaun Patton saved from Shane McPartlin in sudden death, they had won a sixth Ulster title.

“If you don’t see yourself in the depths of winter here on Ulster final day in Clones then there’s no point being back,” said McGuinness.

“You had to believe that. The challenge is so multi-faceted. There’s culture and fitness and everything else. They turn up every night and they give it everything. It wasn’t perfect. We have a lot of things to tweak but they turned up and gave it everything. And that’s all we can ask for.”

McGuinness admitted that watching the Munster round robin hurling game between Cork and Limerick on Saturday night in the team hotel had inspired them.

“The whole thing about inter-county football, place and identity. where you come from, who you represent. They are out there today, very fortunate to be the 15 and the 26 that are representing.

“They’re the fortunate ones and we were trying to impose that on them last night, and we were watching the hurling in the team room and it was amazing, amazing, and it was a brilliant way to set us up for the weekend. Fellas leaving it all out there.”

For Patrick McBrearty, the captain who McGuinness credits with persuading him back, it is a sixth Ulster medal, the most won by a Donegal player.

For Kieran McGeeney, 10 years now as Armagh manager, there was a more philosophical take and an acknowledgement that picking it up from here, in a round robin group that has Galway, Derry and Westmeath, will be a challenge.

“When you’ve been on the receiving of it and when you lose four or five massive games where we’ve been on the bad end of it, it is difficult and there’s no point in saying otherwise, we can’t do much about it,” he said.

“The standard from both teams; serious pace, serious tackles, like, it’s a ball one way or a ball the other, a slip one way or a slip the other. When you lose you’re the gobshite, but that’s just the way it goes.”

Armagh had previously lost a shootout in last year’s Ulster final to Derry, in between All-Ireland quarter-finals against Galway and Monaghan.

- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories