Donegal have progressed to the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland Championships, where they will have a crack at the Champions. They've earned their shot at the title by disposing of Cork in Corke Park, a result that seemed to be capable of going either way before Paddy McBrearty tip the scales while all the time scaling vertiginous heights all of his own. McBrearty kicked 0-11 points in all in one of the finest individual performances of the Championship thus far.
McBrearty made a mockery of Cork's profligacy: they failed to score in the final 22 minutes of the game, inaccuracy that ultimately cost them a victory in a game they started rather well.
McBrearty ended up standing apart, however, with a last-minute black card the only slight blemish on an otherwise brilliant performance: and even that precipitated a standing ovation from the Donegal fans present.
Just a thought next time Jim McGuinness is having a cut off Gallagher remember he left McBrearty on the bench for an All Ireland final...
— Damian Stack (@damianstack) July 30, 2016
The Paddy McBrearty highlight reel from this game would do most players for the course of a season #CORvDON
— Greg Hughes (@GregHughes2) July 30, 2016
Fantastic performances from McBrearty and Ryan McHugh today. McBrearty kicked 11 scores, 7 from play, and was ultimately the difference.
— David Smith (@Smith_D17) July 30, 2016
Paddy McBrearty today https://t.co/MCHD37yibi #CORvDON pic.twitter.com/PiL5Z5METZ
— David Gorman (@DavidGorman20) July 30, 2016
Unreal from McBrearty today confident, direct, clinical... hopefully we get to see it more consistently from now on
— Hugh Martin (@hmart7) July 30, 2016
good win by Donegal. Thank mcbrearty for that. A lot to improve on #eirgaa
— Tomás Ó Sé (@tomas5ky) July 30, 2016
Patrick McBrearty what a performance. One of the best in recent years at Croke Park
— Alan Tormey (@alt0rm3y) July 30, 2016
A performance that merely makes Rory Gallagher's decision to sub McBrearty off in the Ulster final all the more puzzling.
Nonetheless, Donegal have bounced back from Ulster final heartache, and take their rightful place in the final eight.
They will, however, need McBrearty to step up once again against the Dubs. If he does, with Dublin missing McCaffery, O'Carroll and potentially James McCarthy, they've a chance.
See Also: The 3 Most Maligned GAA Teams Of The Modern Era
See Also: Hayley McQueen Reveals Fury At Joe Brolly Following His 2014 Remarks About Rachel Wyse