DONEGAL LOOKING A SAFF BET.Byline: ORLA BANNON
DONEGAL manager John Joe Doherty Joe Doherty (b. 20 January 1955 in Belfast, Northern Ireland) is a former volunteer in the Belfast Brigade of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) who escaped during his 1981 trial for killing a member of the Special Air Service (SAS) in 1980. says the Ulster Championship defeat to Antrim may have been the best thing which has happened to the county this summer.
The Tir Conaill Men are the only team this year to have come through the exhausting programme of four All-Ireland football qualifiers on successive Saturdays.
After their shock exit in Ulster to the Saffrons Donegal redeemed themselves with wins over Carlow, Clare, Derry - after extra-time - and Galway on the four Saturdays in July.
No other team has come through such a tough schedule unscathed.
Meath have the chance to emulate Donegal's success in winning four qualifying matches if they beat Limerick next weekend - but they had a week's break in between the second and third round games due to the replay between Roscommon and Wexford.
Kerry's win over Antrim was their third victory in successive weekends, but as provincial semi-finalists they didn't enter the backdoor See trapdoor. until round two of the qualifiers.
Donegal's victory over Derry was the game which lit the spark, following unimpressive victories in the earlier rounds.
"I think our season could have turned sooner had we got one of the bigger teams early on," insisted Doherty.
"Antrim came to Ballybofey, they weren't a bad team, but maybe the Championship came a bit too early for us.
"Antrim were deserving of their victory but I always felt that we weren't going to go out of this Championship without producing something.
Donegal's Kevin Cassidy The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter.
Please help [ improve the introduction] to meet Wikipedia's layout standards. You can discuss the issue on the talk page. insisted: "We have trained hard all year, lads have made tremendous sacrifices and young lads like Michael Murphy Michael Murphy may refer to:
"We got the show back on the road last week and we're delighted to beat another contender this week. If you're in there you have a chance."
RESOLUTE Doherty SPARK Kevin Cassidy