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Kieran Donaghy's 5 takeaways from the opening weekend of the football Championship

Kieran Donaghy joined Gera and Eoin on OTB AM to break down the opening weekend of the 2020 All-I...

Kieran Donaghy's 5 takeaways f...

Kieran Donaghy's 5 takeaways from the opening weekend of the football Championship

Kieran Donaghy joined Gera and Eoin on OTB AM to break down the opening weekend of the 2020 All-Ireland football championship.

Nine counties are already one-and-done for the season, with Tyrone and Monaghan the big Division 1 sides to have suffered defeats across the weekend.

And here are Donaghy's five biggest takeaways from the brilliant weekend of Championship football.

Cavan leave it late. Almost too late...

"That third quarter was the worst third quarter of football I've seen so far this year. Cavan didn't push up on the kick outa and didn't overly push up on Monaghan, so it was just this 18 minutes of kind of crazy stuff. Every time Monaghan got the ball they sprinted back towards their own goal to where the extra bodies are and I get it, you want to hold onto the ball, but you have to have some plan that when you get to the 45 you have to try score.

"I really don't know why it went so negative for them. And then Cavan weren't too smart either. Yes they got the six points back in the last 10 minutes, but that third quarter for them was very poor in what they were doing as well. They weren't pushing up, they weren't hungry enough. They did push up eventually after the third quarter, the message obviously came on. Monaghan had nine kickouts in the last quarter and Cavan won seven of them, and it was a great platform for them.

"I was disappointed with Mickey Graham and Cavan earlier in the second half that they weren't pushing up because they were down by seven points and it's do-or-die. You don't have it tomorrow so you have to do it today.

"I'd prefer to lose by 10 from doing the right things and getting hit on the counter. Aimlessly going through a third quarter like they did wasn't enough. Mickey has to get the credit for eventually pushing up and winning more kickouts."

Mickey Harte - Is this the end of the line?

"Sean (Cavanagh) has been inside in Mickey Harte's dressing room, and if he's saying it (that Mickey Harte should go) we kind of have to take stock in it, because he was there for the whole thing.

"What Mickey Harte brought to Tyrone, the All Ireland successes, six Ulster championships in an era where you had the great Armagh team, you have the McGuinness Donegal team and now under Bonner, you had the good Monaghan team, Derry and Down who came with good teams. So to have six Ulster championships in 17 years is unbelievable going.

"He's navigated his way through all that to constantly be getting his teams to be in the position to have a chance. There was the early part of the 2010s where that great team were gone and they weren't really as competitive.

"He's probably looking at McShane coming back next year, McKenna, young Darragh Canavan, he has a half forward line of Conor Meyler and McKenna, Sludden coming back in. He might want another shot at that. For a guy who's done everything in the game. I love the loyalty Tyrone have shown him.

"Sean (Cavanagh) being in the dressing room, you have to take note to what he's saying but part of me loves how Tyrone have been loyal to the manager. Mickey Harte was not to blame for yesterday's loss, let's call a spade a spade. He is not, they made tonnes of mistakes, they had a chance when Canavan got the goal in the 41st minute they really had a chance to push on and win the game,. They were sloppy after that.

"Maybe a new voice is needed, and maybe a new voice would just bring a bit of a spark and a new energy to the setup. But as I say that, do I believe that if Mickey Harte was here for the next 5 or 6 years, would he get an All-Ireland? I'd say very possibly he could manage to get one.

Michael Murphy's best position?

"Hugh McFadden was massive in the middle of the field yesterday, he really gave them a platform. He won breaks, he won dirty ball. He was just in fellas faces. I've played against him, he's mouthy, but the kind of fella you'd just love next to you.

"Who goes next to McFadden? Do you bite the bullet and just put Murphy out there because at this stege he's just playing like a midfielder and a quarter back rather than a target man on the 40. I think you put him out there with McFadden because you have loads of forwards.

1 November 2020; Stephen McMenamin, left, and Michael Murphy of Donegal following the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Donegal and Tyrone at MacCumhaill Park in Ballybofey, Donegal. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

"Donegal are a serious contender, but they need Neil McGee. They put him on McKenna and in fairness he did well. I could see the ball 20 yards past McKenna in his attacking half of the pitch and McGee doing a taggers job, like we said on Friday morning. He did a great job for that first half. He'll be a big loss if he's missing."

Donegal's next star?

"You're going to have to fit Oisin Gallen in because he was so good yesterday. Jim McGuinness was telling me on Sky that Oisin Gallen is absolutely roasting people in training.

"If you look at the build up to the score that put them two up in the 67th minute, they had 28 handpasses and four kick passes an held the ball for two minutes and 50 seconds. If you look back on the score, watch Gallen's technique on that kick.

"He knows how important it is. Look at the way he keeps his head down on the ball. He's like a good golfer. His leg is gone, the ball is gone, but his head is still down at the ground. He really stood over it because it was into the breeze, and that was a huge score for them.


Mayo for Sam - it's (possibly) happening!

"Mayo are for real in this championship lads! I didn't jump off the bandwagon when they had a bad start against the breeze in Castlebar against Tyrone last week.

"You know, they clawed that game back and could have won it after being 9 points down against an opposition like Tyrone.

"They've a seriously good tackling full forward line in Aidan O'Shea and Cillian O'Connor and young Conroy. They have what you need for winter football. If you're talking about a team tackling out of defence, there's nobody better than Mayo. Add that onto wet, slippery conditions, they're going to be a nightmare to come out against you.

"What I will say is that I do think that it could be a year where Mayo find a bit of magic and a bit of momentum at the right time. This thing will be over before we know it lads. It wouldn't surprise me if Mayo were sitting in a semi final getting ready for a game against Kerry, and Donegal going toe-to-toe with the Dubs on the other side."

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All-Ireland Football Championship Cavan GAA Donegal GAA Kieran Donaghy Mayo GAA Micheal Murphy Mickey Graham Mickey Hartee Monaghan GAA Otb Am Tyrone GAA