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Donegal boss Jim McGuinness Photo by: Google Images

Donegal celebrate first All-Ireland final appearance in 20 years after semi win over Cork

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Donegal boss Jim McGuinness Photo by: Google Images

Donegal boss Jim McGuinness has urged his team to do themselves justice in next month’s All-Ireland final.

The Ulster champions will play for the Sam Maguire in Croke Park for the first time in 20 years after beating Cork by 0-16 to 1-11 on Sunday.

Donegal survived a late scare to book their place against Dublin or Mayo in the All-Ireland decider 
“I just hope now that we’ve come this journey that we can go the last leg of it now and get over the line in four weeks’ time,” said McGuinness, a member of the Donegal team that won the county’s only All-Ireland in 1992.

“A huge challenge regardless who we play, but at the same time we would hope that with all the work we’ve put in and the amount of games we’ve played this year that we can see the thing out now, but I suppose that’s for another day.”

All-Ireland fever has gripped Donegal and McGuinness was keen to thank the fans after Sunday’s big win.

He added in an interview with RTE: “When we started out on the journey in the middle of May up in Breffni Park, it was a long way to the All-Ireland final, and to be there now is fantastic really for this group of players.

“The support at the minute has just been fantastic. Even in the warm-up today they were chanting ‘Donegal’, which was unbelievable for our players.

“Last year, we tried to put a framework in place that we could help the boys to achieve things in the game and we tried to build that over the winter. I think the supporters understand that and they understand what we’re trying to do.”

The hard work is only beginning for Donegal now according to their manager.

He continued: “We’re trying to move the thing forward, develop the lads individually and develop them as a group.

“And I suppose the lesson from last year was to try to get more scores on the board, and they’re aware of that as well.

“They have been with us every step of the way really since Breffni Park, and I think after the 2-18 Donegal scored in the Ulster final there was maybe a wee bit more optimism in them that this group of players could achieve something in the All-Ireland series and they’ve come out in huge numbers as a result.

“The boys have a great relationship with the supporters as well, and the kids and everything else.

“It’s a great shot in the arm for Donegal football to be honest with you. We just hope now that the synergy that it creates, there will be a Michael Murphy, or a Colm McFadden, or a Rory Kavanagh in the offing in a few years’ time as a result of it.”

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