McGlynn: We can't afford another late lapse21/09/2012 - 11:02:28
Donegal may have had the measure of Munster giants Kerry and Cork in their last two matches, but leaking late scores is something Frank McGlynn does not want to repeat in Sunday's All-Ireland SFC final.
In their quarter-final clash, Donegal conceded a 66th minute goal to Kieran Donaghy as Kerry rattled off 1-2 without reply in their 1-12 to 1-11 defeat by Jim McGuinness' men.
The Ulster champions also coughed up a late goal in their semi-final victory over Cork when Colm O'Neill netted in injury-time.
One such lapse could be seriously costly if Donegal drop off against Mayo in Sunday's decider at Croke Park, with defender McGlynn urging his team-mates to maintain total focus for the 70 minutes.
"When you look at it we conceded more in the last couple of minutes of both games (against Kerry and Cork) than we did in the previous 50 minutes. It was something that disappointed us and is not ideal, letting a lead slip," he said.
"It is something we will have to improve on against a team like Mayo come All-Ireland final day. It's hard to pinpoint (what goes wrong).
"You saw in the other semi-final, Dublin and Mayo, when you do get a lead up, you tend to subconsciously take the foot off the pedal a slight bit.
"I suppose at this level, we’re not used to playing at this level other than in the past couple of years. It only takes one chance for a team like Kerry, Cork or Dublin to come back at you.
"That's the teams we have been playing against and they are good enough to take any opportunities they are given. It's a matter of focusing now and not giving Mayo a chance to get back at us if we do have the lead."
McGlynn feels that the level of performance put in by Donegal against a side of the calibre of Cork shows how they have 'improved greatly in the last couple of years' under the management of McGuinness.
The manner of their progression through the Championship, picking up the Anglo-Celt Cup along the way, has marked Donegal out as favourites - in many people's eyes - to lift the Sam Maguire Cup this weekend.
But McGlynn is not concerned with how the bookmakers price it up, insisting: "I don't know about us being hot favourites. I suppose in previous games we have gone in as underdogs and we didn't pay too much attention to that, so we're not going to pay much attention to the favourites' tag at this stage.
"It's an All-Ireland final day and as we all know finals are there to be won and unless you go out and play to the best you're not going to come out on the right end of the result."
Last year Donegal were knocked out of the Championship by Dublin in a dour semi-final. This season McGuinness' men have maintained their defensive solidity while also playing with real drive and purpose in attack - racking up some big scores including 2-13 against Derry and 2-18 in the Ulster final against Down.
Asked about the tactical tweaks that have been made, McGlynn explained: "Last year, even though we won an Ulster and got to an All-Ireland semi-final, the chances to get forward were few and far between from corner back.
"Luckily enough, pushing out to the half-back line this year in periods of games, it has given us more opportunities for the team as a whole.
"Even midfielders and half-forwards, we seem to have had more of a chance to get forward and it's paid dividends for us and we seem to be scoring more as a result."
He added: "I would play half-back all the time for my club and I would enjoy attacking. It's always nice to put the forward on the back foot.
"At underage I would have been a half-forward, sometimes in the full-forward line but I gradually went back the way. Luckily enough I get up the field the odd time."
And what of Mayo, the team that stand between Donegal and their first All-Ireland SFC title in 20 years?
The Glenfin clubman sees them as very worthy finalists, although admittedly he was expecting 2011 champions Dublin to beat them last time out.
"For both ourselves and Mayo, I suppose they have been there in 2006, some of their players would have experienced it. From last year we would have enjoyed the days out at Croke Park and playing against the Dubs last year would have given us the taste for the crowd and the atmosphere that is going to be there.
"I would be lying if I did say I wasn't surprised that (Mayo won their semi-final). After 10 or 12 minutes, Mayo were really up for the game and the longer the game went on, the stronger they seemed to get.
"They hit some massive scores at vital stages against Dublin and that shows that they have some very good players who aren't afraid to take a shot.
"They put up 17 points against them and that's a massive score against the defensive system that Dublin have. Not too many people in the country expected that," he admitted.
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