Donegal minors had an easy passage to the Ulster Minor League semi-final on Saturday after a very easy passage against Antrim in Ballymena.
Two palmed goals by Gavin McBride had them comfortable ahead by 2-8 to 0-6 at half-time after playing against the wind in the opening half.
The pattern continued in the second half with John Campbell bagging the third goal while Lorcan Connor (penalty) and Ethan O’Donnell had the other goals. Of the Donegal total, all but the penalty and one free came from play.
It was an early start for some of the Donegal panel - 6.30 in Glencolmcille and 7 p.m. in Gaoth Dobhair as they made their own piece of history - a Donegal team playing an intercounty game in Ballymena.
The game was hosted by the All Saints club outside the town on a very good surface. The bitter crossfield wind did not deter the Donegal boys who were playing for a home semi-final place and despite conceding the first point after a mix-up between the ‘keeper and defender on three minutes, they never looked back once Conor Doherty crossed for Gavin McBride to palm home a goal on five minutes.
The Donegal crossbar was rattled by Conor Small on six minutes but by the ninth minute Michael Carroll, John Campbell (free) and Conor Doherty had Donegal 1-3 to 0-1 ahead, the Doherty point coming after five handpasses, started with a catch by Caolan McGonigle.
Eamon Fyffe had an Antrim free but Michael Carroll pointed and then Gaoth Dobhair pair Niall Friel and McBride combined for McBride to palm home the second goal. It was a good for the Gaoth Dobhair club with five on the starting team and when Gary McFadden entered the fray ten minutes from the break, all six were on the park.
McBride returned the favour to set up Friel for a point on 18 minutes and before half-time Lorcan Connor (2) and Michael Carroll added points to leave Donegal ahead by 2-8 to 0-6.
While Ryan McNulty had the opening point of the second half, Donegal then rattled off points from Cian Mulligan, Carroll (2) before Conor Doherty cut through to set up John Campbell to coolly slot home the third goal on 35 minutes.
Conor Doherty added a point while Ryan McNulty from a free had Antrim’s final point on 42 minutes. From there to the finish it was all Donegal as Lorcan Connor pointed and was then pushed for a penalty. From the spot the Downings man coolly slotted home.
In the final minutes John Campbell pointed before Ethan O’Donnell took a hand, firing home a goal after being set up by Shane O’Donnell and he also had the final score, a very good point from near the sideline.
It was a very impressive display by Donegal with Michael Carroll impressing with 0-5 from midfield; Danny Monagle, Cian Mulligan, Niall Friel, Caolan McGonigle, John Campbell, Conor Doherty, Eoghan Ban Gallagher and Gavin McBride also played very well.
Donegal now have a home semi-final against Down, which will be played in O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny, on Saturday next.
Donegal: Padraig Byrne; Danny Monagle, Kieran Gillespie, John McDyre; Cian Mulligan (0-1), Tony McClenaghan, Niall Friel (0-1); Caolan McGonigle, Michael Carroll (0-5); John Campbell (1-2,1f), Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Conor Doherty (0-2); Christian Bonner, Gavin McBride (2-0), Lorcan Connor (1-3,1-0pen). Subs., Gary McFadden for McDyre 23; Ethan O’Donnell (1-1) for Bonner 26; Shane O’Donnell for Carroll 36; Andrew McClean for Doherty 48; Ciaran Diver for McBride 50; Stephen McMenamin for Campbell 56.
Antrim: A Hasson; C Beggs, T McGoran, C King; P McPartland, J McGee, C Eastwood; T Duffin, R McNulty (0-3,2f); R Hannigan (0-2), C Small, B Corr; E Fyffe (0-2,1f), J Conway (0-1), J Fyffe. Subs., T O’Kane for Corr; L Lafferty for O’Kane (black card, 44).