Donegal bridged a 48-year gap with a championship win on Armagh soil as they swept aside a toothless Armagh challenge in the Athletic Grounds.
Rory Gallagher’s side gave a magnificent first half performance to qualify for an Ulster semi-final meeting with Derry in St. Tiernach’s Park, Clones on Saturday week (June 27th).
Donegal’s last championship win on Armagh soil was back in 1967 and for many of the senior citizens of this Donegal panel, the sight of the Armagh jersey was not a comfortable one throughout the last 13 years.
Donegal scraped a one point win in the All-Ireland quarter-final last year but this time it was emphatic, with the final score of 2-11 to 0-8 a fair indication of the play.
It was a great all-round display from the Tirconaill boys with a magnificent display from their captain and leader, Michael Murphy.
Armagh had simply no answer to the movement of the Donegal team in the opening half, with players interchanging and very good use of the long ball which was aimed at Patrick McBrearty. Michael Murphy was the catalyst for much of the good football and when Donegal won frees, Murphy was imperious no matter what the distance.
For Donegal manager, Rory Gallagher, it was a satisfying result: “There was probably more in it at the end than we had expected,” he said. “We started the game really well and it ploughed on after that.”
The manager had special words for Patrick McBrearty and his captain, Michael Murphy, and he confirmed that Colm McFadden should be okay for the Ulster semi-final against Derry.
“Colm has a wee virus, he picked it up earlier in the week and we were holding out hope, even up until Friday, that he’d be okay.”
MINOR APPEAL tonight
Donegal’s appeal of the proposed eight week ban being proposed for two of the county minors and two of the minor backroom team is being heard tonight (Monday).
The players and mentors are facing bans for an alleged half-time altercation with a steward/official at last Sunday week’s Ulster Minor Championship quarter-final meeting with Armagh, in the Athletic Grounds, in Armagh.