Pat Spillane: Thank god Donegal are finally out of the All-Ireland Football Championship!

Pat Spillane
Pat Spillane

DUBLIN made hard work of getting through to the All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry in just over two weeks' time.

It wasn't at all fluent as Donegal dragged Dublin down to their level with their awful defensive football.

At least we are finished with it for the summer of 2016, with the defeats of a tiring Donegal side and a Tyrone team that was nowhere near as good as it looked all year.

Dublin mixed the good with the bad, great point-taking with wonderful pace and power.

Even though a man down (and more) they ran Donegal out of it in the second half.

As for the second game, well Tyrone codded us all year that they were potential All- Ireland winners.

Tyrone footballers went unbeaten until yesterday in all competitions.

And maybe all those wins meant they weren't ready, mentally or football-wise, for a Mayo team that wasn't taking no for an answer in Croke Park.

Because they just weren't good enough.

Tyrone were in Division Two of the league, so they could only beat Division Two teams.

But look at Ulster in the 2016 Championship.

Armagh beaten by Laois – twice! Down and Monaghan were beaten by Longford, Cavan were beaten by Derry who in turn were beaten by Tipperary.

I mean the form line was poor, very poor.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.

The Ulster Championship provides our only true competitive championship, in that almost anyone can beat anyone else over 70 minutes on any June afternoon.

But is it any good? Repeated results in Croke Park in August and September in recent years suggest that it's not up to standard.

Looking at the teams beforehand I was struck by the lack of obvious match-winners in their attack.

It was not a line-up full of familiar faces and names with scoring threats.

Sean Cavanagh was the exception, but he could not carry this team all on his own.

Once Mayo decided that their tactic would be to doggedly have a runner on the shoulder of every Tyrone runner, Tyrone had no great idea of how to progress.

Mayo also clearly settled on Peter Harte as a key player for the Red Hands and they set about marking him tightly.

Tyrone will be back, they have had too many good under-age teams of late for that not to happen. But this was a serious reality check.