By Micil Glennon
Donegal manager Jim McGuinness has rejected the suggestion that his team are ‘anti-football’ after failing to overcome Dublin in one of the poorest All-Ireland semi-finals in memory on Sunday.
In a low-scoring match, the Tír Conaill men managed just two second-half points and Dublin only scored their first point from play in the 60th minute.
McGuinness said: “I don’t think I’m anti-football to be honest with you. This time last year what we were trying to do was get the team winning games and that’s what we’ve decided to do with the team and we don’t make any apologies for that.
“Our game plan today was based on trying to beat Dublin. We went into the game today one to three against so it was a big challenge for our lads.
“At 0-06 to 0-03 we had a very good chance to win it. I would prefer to be competitive and to be winning championships and winning medals than to be going down in a blaze of glory like what Donegal have done for the last 19 years and getting nothing out of it.
“And if we had won we’d be in an All-Ireland final now and that’s the Holy Grail for any Gaelic footballer, so that’s the trade-off and we don’t make any apologies about that.”
McGuinness, who led his team to their first Ulster title since 1992, admitted that the better team won and said that he was happy with the progress that his side have made this year.
“We probably had a chance to go and win the game, but, in fairness, Dublin came back very, very strong and at the end they deserved to win, definitely.
“Dublin are very, very well advanced in their conditioning and I suppose in their development as a team and it came through at the end.
"They wore us down today and that was the way it was but I suppose overall we’ll be very happy with the year we’ve had." added McGuinness.
“The boys have become competitive again, they’ve put a lot of pride into the county, a lot of people have been very excited for the last few weeks and that’s been missing for a few years.
“They have a National League medal and an Ulster championship medal, and they’re in Croke Park today mixing it with the one of the best teams in the country.
"We’re happy with where we’re at in relation to our development. Can we push on now in the next 12 months and move up the ladder? I suppose time will tell.
“I think that the work the players have put in since the turn of the year deserves medals and deserves to be achieving.
"We’ll move on now. We’ll re-evaluate where we’re at and re-evaluate the squad and start all over again.”