A lightening start against Down in Saturday’s semi-final enabled Donegal to reach a third successive Ulster Minor League final.
Declan Bonner’s side have been in imperious form since the competition got underway last month.
And although the Donegal manager could’ve picked a few holes in Saturday’s performance, the positives certainly outweighed the negatives and there’s a final to look forward to against Derry this coming weekend.
Bonner’s team rattled in a 4-18 to 3-6 victory against the Oak Leafers a couple of weeks ago and having leapt from the blocks on Saturday, were 2-2 to 0-0 up before Down caught their breath.
Only six minutes had been played when Eoghan McGettigan slapped home Donegal’s opening goal after Micheál Carroll had supplied the pass. Then, just four minutes later, the second goal was built from the same prototype as Niall O’Donnell was on hand to bat the ball past Jack Heaney, when Ethan O’Donnell was the provider.
Donegal were gaining dividends for their speedy attacks, right at the heart of the Down defence.
However, five minutes before half-time, the visitors goaled when a searching pass from Darragh Connolly was caught on the turn and planted past Danny Rodgers by Jody McGovern.
Donegal were 2-6 to 1-3 up at the interval and controlled the second half as Down were kept at arm’s length for the most part. Carroll stroked over four from centre-field.
Ethan O’Donnell, after a give and go with Carroll, scored Donegal’s third goal with a fine finish.
Whatever lingering hopes Down might’ve had of upsetting the odds came and went with that.
Donegal: Danny Rodgers; Philip McNern (0-1), Stephen McMenamin, Gary McFadden; Dáire Ó Baoill, Brendan McCole, Philip Doherty; Nathan Gavigan, Micheál Carroll (0-4, 2f); Michael Langan (0-1), Niall O’Donnell (1-2), Ethan O’Donnell (1-0); Eoghan McGettigan (1-0), Kane Barrett (0-1, 1f), Rory Carr (0-1). Subs: Mark Coyle and Daniel Gallagher for Gavigan and McGettigan (44), Sean McHugh for Barrett (50), Seaghan Ferry for McFadden (53), Sean McGonagle and Barry Curran for O’Donnell and Ó Baoill (57).
Down: Jack Heaney; Paddy Murdoch, Mark Harte, Pierce Laverty; Charlie Carr (0-1), Darragh Connolly, Oisin McConvey; CJ Barr, Tarchlach Byrne; Aaron D’arcy, Tiarnan Rushe (0-3, 2f), Frank Aiken; Jody McGovern (1-1), Nick Turkington, Conor Cox. Subs: Declan Morgan (0-2, 1f) for Aiken (half-time), Conall Gordon for Byrne (33), Sean Lenaghan for Turkington (50), PJ Davidson (0-1) for Rushe (52).
Referee: Seamus Mullan (Derry).