Colm McFadden didn’t hide his relief at saying goodbye to the tactics of Ulster football in Saturday’s All-Ireland qualifier win over Galway.
Kevin Walsh’s side may have played 15 men behind the ball on several occasions but their defence was nothing like what Donegal encountered in their province.
For a forward, even in a more retreated position like McFadden’s on the 45-metre line, it was a welcome change.
Speaking about his new role this summer, he said: “I’ve enjoyed it there, to be honest. It’s a different role to inside, especially in Ulster football when you’ve a man hanging out of you and two men in front of you and there’s three or four ahead of them again. It’s hard to get the ball. It’s something different and I’m glad to be playing where Rory (Gallagher) puts me. You adapt to whatever’s put in front of you.”
McFadden said players were “dying to get back out playing after the Ulster final”.
Although admitting it was “a long week” after they lost their crown to Monaghan, the team weren’t so down in the mouth after losing in Clones by the bare minimum.
“We knew the performance wasn’t too bad but we knew there were things to improve on and we tried to address them, as we would with as every game.
“We only lost the final by a point and Monaghan are a top side. We weren’t too critical. It was just about getting the bodies right and the heads up for this game.”
Next up is Mayo, a team that brushed Galway aside in June and crushed Donegal at this same stage two years ago. McFadden knows the challenge.
“Of course, we’d love to have two or three weeks to prepare but we’re going into it on the back of a victory and heads are up again. Mayo are a top, top side. They’re definitely unfortunate not to have won an All-Ireland these last three, four or five years. They’re probably the most consistent team in the country in those couple of years. They’re going to be formidable opposition on Saturday.
“I don’t really buy into that ‘you’re going to beat them because they beat you the last day’. Every day you go out you try and build towards an All-Ireland final and both teams will obviously try and get to the semi-final first.”
Meanwhile, Michael Murphy insisted he has put his knee ligament injury behind him. Gallagher confirmed his captain had carried the problem into the Ulster final.
“It’s all behind me. All cleared up and done and dusted, thanks be to God.”
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