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The Sunday Game Panel Go In On Donegal After Ulster Final Horror Show

The Sunday Game Panel Go In On Donegal After Ulster Final Horror Show
By Gary Connaughton Updated

Derry have been crowned Ulster champions, and while it is a landmark day for the county, the 90 or so minutes of action that led to them lifting the Anglo Celt Cup will hardly live long in the memory.

Rory Gallagher's side would run as two-point winners after extra-time in Clones, with their three points in the second additional period proving to be enough to get the job done against a disappointing Donegal team.

The game itself was hardly a classic. Both sides were happy to bring all 15 players back inside their own half, allowing the opposition to hand pass the ball around the middle third without any sort of pressure being put on the player in possession.

It was utterly dreadful stuff to watch. In the end, it felt almost miraculous that the sides managed to reach a scoreline of 1-16 to 1-14.

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While Derry will hardly be too concerned after winning a first Ulster title since 1998, questions will certainly be asked about Donegal. They are the more talented of the two teams but looked completely disinterested in playing any sort of football.

An incident at the end of normal time spoke volumes. Donegal received possession with a minute of additional time remaining and the teams level. Instead of attempting to work a winning score, they passed the ball around their own half to see the contest into extra time.

It was certainly one of the worst spectacles in recent memory.

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Speaking on RTÉ before the start of extra-time, Colm O'Rourke and Sean Cavanagh were hugely critical of the spectacle on show.

O'Rourke: Isn't it a pity that Derry are in an Ulster final for the first time of years, and there's a huge crowd of young people and school kids coming along to this game to support and inspire them, and what a bore it turns out to be for everybody.

Cavanagh: I can understand why Derry are doing it, because they haven't been there in a long time and they're a young team. The pressure is probably more so on Donegal to force the pattern of the game.

I can see why Derry are trying to hang in there as long as they can.

This strategy worked for them in extra-time, with Donegal unable to live with Derry after they upped the intensity and slotted over a few quick scores.

It is yet another disappointing provincial campaign for Declan Bonner's side, who have been beaten by a less fancied side in Ulster for the third consecutive season.

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They came in for more criticism after the game, with both O'Rourke and Noelle Healy said that while Derry deserved to win, Donegal were a huge disappointment yet again.

O'Rourke: Derry were deserving winners. Okay, it was a mind-numbing game, but they showed a bit more ambition than Donegal.

I was very disappointed with the whole Donegal approach...

Healy: I think it's a huge blow for Donegal. You talk about how significant it is for Derry, but they were on a crest anyway with the scalps they've already taken, they would have had huge momentum and belief and themselves going into the qualifiers.

For Donegal, it's a massive blow. I don't think they performed very well, it's another Ulster championship that they have left behind them. Going into the qualifiers, beyond that I think it will be very hard to pick themselves up and get motivated again.

Donegal will now face into the perilous route of the qualifiers, where they could be handed a very difficult draw.

As for Derry, they can now celebrate this victory before looking ahead to an All-Ireland quarter-final appearance.

SEE ALSO: Cavanagh Feels Shane Walsh Learning From David Clifford A Good Sign For Galway

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