Donegal manager Aidan O’Rourke reflects on his side’s defeat to Derry in the second round of the All-Ireland group stages.
Donegal boss Aidan O’Rourke feels that his side gave away the ball for all three Derry goals on Sunday.
The Oak Leaf side beat Tir Chonaill 3-14 to 1-15 in the second round of the All-Ireland group stages, with the winning goals coming from Conor Doherty, Lachlan Murray and Pádraig McGrogan.
“First of all, we gave the ball away for all three goals,” says O’Rourke.
“I know we forced a couple of things at the other end where if we keep the ball, we don’t lose those balls.
“But once you get to that critical part of the championship phase of the game everybody is fatigued, there is no doubt, and that’s where the ball needs to be protected.
“So once you are chasing and giving turnovers it’s very difficult for teams at Derry’s level to close everything off.
“So yeah, for sure there’s a concentration and communication thing in defence and the goals are very frustrating when you see them.”
Having beaten Clare in the opening game, Monaghan are next up and O’Rourke knows that second or third place will secure a preliminary All-Ireland quarter-final spot.
“For big parts of that game we did a really good job,” he adds.
“But there’s a balance in that because you don’t want to take away our own quality and take people where they don‘t want to be where they can be effective.
“That’s just the modern game, the players playing now are probably way more accustomed to it at this stage, so they know the game.
“You can read a lot into moments in the game and you can pinpoint one incident as a pattern.
“I don’t necessarily think that’s the case, I don’t think any of our lads are necessarily weak in those areas.
“So for each of those goals in detail, four or five boys could have made a decision where we prevented a goal, defending is a collective exercise at this level and ultimately we lost track of runners, switched off and we were punished.
“That’s the level Derry are operating at, you have to be right on it for 80 minutes.”
Patrick McBrearty made his much-anticipated comeback from a hamstring injury he picked up against Tyrone at Healy Park four months ago.
“Any time you have Patrick available you want him on the pitch as soon as possible,” O’Rourke says.
“He’s done a serious amount of work to be where he is, he probably shouldn’t be where he is but his dedication and attention to detail and ability to push boundaries is phenomenal.
“He is where he is because of all of that, so listen, it wouldn’t have been fair to put him in.
“The time we used him for was probably about right, he gets much better every time he’s on the pitch and he’ll be much better for the game today too, so the rest of the championship is still unfolding for him.”