Ulster GAA gets a bit of flack for low scoring games and that stereotype was perpetuated by the Donegal Ladies in their first half against Armagh in the Ulster Championship on Saturday.
All seemed lost for them as the sides went in at half-time with Armagh having racked up an impressive 1-8 and Donegal failing to raise a single flag of any kind.
Half-time in Greencastle County Tyrone in Ulster Ladies Semi-Final Armagh 1-08 v 0-00 Donegal. Armagh had strong wind in their favour. pic.twitter.com/SLpQNhClCN
— Donegal Sport Hub (@DonegalSportHub) June 10, 2017
With their 11 point lead, Armagh must have surely thought they had this game in the bag but over in the Donegal dressing room Manager Micheál Naughton was (we imagine) producing one of the most rousing motivational speeches a dressing room has ever witnessed.
The GAA has seen some great comebacks in the past, Mayo' beating the Dubs from seven points down in 2006, Wexford overturning a ten-point deficit against Meath in 2008, or more recently Cork smashing the Dub's ten-point lead in the last 15 minutes of the 2014 All-Ireland Ladies Final, but we here in the office can't think of an inter-county championship game where an 11 point lead has been clawed back (please let us know if you find one).
Amazingly that's what Donegal managed to do with Geraldine McLaughlin taking the game by the scruff of the neck to haul an amazing individual tally of 1-7 as her team went on to blitz Armagh to win 1-14 to 1-10.
Speaking to Highland Radio after the result, McLaughlin modestly gave a lot of credit to the wind for them going down so much as well crediting it to them mounting their comeback when the sides switched.
We knew at half-time even though we were 11 points down we didn't play at all, it was the worst we've ever played.
That was a strong wind and they were coming from our kick outs every time and that's what we did to them in the second half.
With that wind you knew you only had to hit it if you forced it at all the wind will bring it so just place it and hope it went over.
We knew if we got a score in the first half that was going to get us started but we didn't, and we didn't panic and we stuck to our gameplan. Today we probably got out of jail but there's a lesson to be learnt.
Naughton told the Donegal Democrat that even at half-time the team always had belief in themselves that they could pull off "the great escape" and that they couldn't have responded better to a situation they had never found themselves in.