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Declan Bonner was pleased with his Donegal team's display after they pushed Dublin hard in their Allianz Leagues Division 1 clash at Croke Park on Saturday evening.
Jim Gavin's All-Ireland champions looked like cruising to another straightforward victory after Niall Scully drove them into the break with a 0-11 to 0-5 lead.
However, after the restart, Paddy McBrearty inspired his team to get within a point of Dublin but late points courtesy of Paul Mannion, Eoghan O'Gara, Paul Flynn and Paddy Small ensured the capital county secured their third consecutive league victory by 0-20 to 0-15.
But Bonner believes he saw enough in his side's fightback to give them plenty of optimism for the long season ahead.
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“It’s disappointing,” he told eir Sport's Match Night Live. “The level of performance of the second half was top class.
“We did miss opportunities. We’d a purple spell during the second half, I think we scored eight [points] to Dublin’s three [but] we just didn’t kick on in that last five, 10 minutes where we had opportunities.
“But the commitment and the level, and the quality of that second half performance was very good.
“It’s a very experiences Dublin side, a top quality Dublin side. The first half we were a bit tentative, maybe playing with just a slight bit of fear.
"We’d an opportunity just before half-time when Jamie Brennan hit the crossbar and the ball came back out, it could have been two points in it….we decided we’ve got to give it a go and in fairness to the lads, to a man they really pushed on in the second half.
“They’re disappointed in there we didn’t get something out of the game.”
eir Sport has live and exclusive coverage of 17 Saturday matches in the 2018 Allianz Football and Hurling Leagues. Coverage continues on Saturday, 17 February with 2016 All-Ireland winners Tipperary hosting Wexford at Semple Stadium in hurling's Division 1A [live on eir Sport 2, throw in 7pm], and Limerick facing Dublin at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick in Division 1B [live on eir Sport 1, throw-in 7pm].
Image: INPHO/Oisin Keniry
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