Donegal kept their defence of the Ulster Minor League on track with an easy win over Antrim on Saturday.
Antrim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-6
Donegal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-12
The game was played in Magherafelt and despite finishing with 14 men, Donegal secured second spot in the group which means they will play Monaghan at a Monaghan venue in the semi-final on Saturday next.
Donegal lost Enda McCormick to a straight red card just before half-time, as they turned over 1-6 to 0-4, but they made light work of the Saffrons in the second half.
Apart from losing narrowly to Tyrone in the second round game, Shaun Paul Barrett’s side have been impressive, dismissing Fermanagh, Derry and now Antrim.
The game was finely balanced for much of the opening half before a Stephen Carr goal, which deflected to the net off the Antrim ‘keeper edged Donegal ahead. But then came the controversial moment of the game with McCormick’s dismissal after he went in strong for a ball. His straight red card seemed a harsh call by the referee.
Donegal also lost Odhran Ferry to a black card, but that marked the introduction of St. Eunan’s Niall O’Donnell, who played a significant role in the second half, including scoring Donegal’s second goal.
That goal, 12 minutes into the second half, pushed Donegal 2-10 to 0-4 clear and on their way to victory.
The home side put a better look on the scoreboard with a late goal.
Antrim: Gerard Smith; Sean Kelly, Patrick Finnegan, Eoin Nagle; Eoghan McCabe, Patrick McCormick (0-1) , Michael McNamee; Niall McKeown, Matthew Rodgers; Kevin Small (0-1), Dermot McErlain (0-2, 2fs), Matthew Hamill; Liam Quinn, Peter Webb (0-2, 1f), James Cooley. Subs: Ciaran Bradley for Webb (half-time, black card), James Smith for Rodgers (39), Marcus Donnelly for Finnegan (43), Joe Maybin (1-0) McKeown (45), Seanchan Duffin (1-0) for Small (50), Malachi Doherty for Cooley (53).
Donegal: Gavin Mulreany; Mark Curran, Aaron McCrea, Seaghan Ferry; Aiden McLaughlin (0-1), JD Boyle (0-2), Odhran Shiels (0-1); Jason McGee (0-1), Kieran Gallagher; Ciaran McGinley, Odhran Ferry, Enda McCormack; Peadar Mogan (0-1), Stephen Carr (1-1), Eoghan McGettigan (0-4, 1f). Subs: Niall O’Donnell (1-1) for O Ferry (30+4, black card), Nathan Boyle for McGinley (47), Brian O’Donnell for McGettigan (53), Aaron Deeney and Logan Quinn for S Ferry and Curran (56).
Referee: Ciaran Mooney (Down).