Donegal defender, Eoghan Bán Gallagher, has praised the attacking approach that Stephen Rochford has brought to Donegal from his time with Mayo and Corofin.
Rochford stepped down as manager of Mayo at the end of last season after three years in charge and was appointed to Declan Bonner’s coaching staff in October, replacing the outgoing Karl Lacey.
Speaking at the launch of the Electric Ireland Higher Education Championships, Gallagher said he was “very impressed” with Rochford’s appointment so far.
“I’ve been in watching him, yeah. Listen, I’ve been very impressed. Coming from Connacht and Mayo and managing Corofin, they play a wee bit more of a so-called attacking style than Donegal. He brings a different aspect because in Donegal we normally only have coaches from Donegal and Ulster and that.”
“So with him coming from Connacht, Mayo, and Corofin he brings a different style and a different way of looking at football which can only benefit Donegal. He’s coming with new ideas and I’m sure him and Declan and the rest of the backroom team are in harmony discussing the best way to go about playing.”
“It’s only positive for us because it’s fresh ideas and Stephen Rochford was close to beating Dublin three times.”
That ‘attacking style’ will, no doubt, suit Gallagher who was often seen roaming up the pitch from corner-back last year, and even netted a goal in the Ulster final against Fermanagh.
The 22-year-old praised his manager for allowing him to play more expansively and warned that teams will have to adapt to more attacking football should they have a had to overcome the All Ireland champions, Dublin.
“I think every manager in the modern game is flexible enough with how their team ends up attacking. Declan [Bonner] has given me license to attack but every team now attacks and defends, all the players in a team do it.”
“I remember watching clips last year of Jamie Brennan and Michael Murphy back defending. We ended up being the players [that were] furthest up the pitch. Just like it’s their job to get back, it’s our job to get forward.”
“Every team knows they have to attack a lot more to beat Dublin. I think a few people have come out and said you need at least 20 points to beat Dublin and that’s probably not far off the mark. They’re going to put up 18 or 19 points regardless so you’ve to score more than them to beat them.”
Putting up that kind of score against Jim Gavin’s side may seem a hefty task, but Gallagher maintains that Donegal must have the belief that they can beat Dublin at their prime.
“Honestly, you would like to think that you can [bridge the gap]. Whether it be Dublin maybe coming down or us going up. Hopefully it’s us going up and beating them when they’re still at they’re peak.
“But you have to go in with belief. Jim McGuinness said a few years ago that whatever game of football you’re playing, you’ve the same chance as the other team of winning. We have to have the belief that no matter what team you’re going out to play that you’ve a chance of beating them.”
Before they get a crack at the Dubs, Bonner’s side must first contest the Allianz League. They begin their quest to return to the top flight when they take on Clare in Ennis this Sunday.
Electric Ireland launched the Sigerson, Fitzgibbon and Higher Education Championships, announcing that Electri