Donegal maintained their winning start to the SFAI Inter-League Cup with a convincing 2-0 win over Cavan/Monaghan at the Screabán, Gweedore, yesterday.
Donegal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Cavan/ Monaghan . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
Stephen McFadden and Darragh Ellison scored the goals, both in the first half, for the Darragh McCullagh managed side, who dominated this tie for the majority of the 70 plus minutes.
There was a touch of good fortune about the first goal when McFadden punished a miscued first time clearance by the Cavan/Monaghan goalkeeper, Finn Lotscher.
Lotscher drove a Jack Burke back pass at McFadden, who was just inside the box and from that range, the Donegal number 9 was not going to miss.
That was on 28 minutes and after Donegal had gone close a number of times as they pinned back the visitors, who lost their opening game to Inishowen, 4-1. Donegal defeated Sligo/Leitrim 4-1 in their first round tie.
Lee McFadden, Marc Walsh and McFadden (twice) had gone close to breaking the deadlock in the opening 25 minutes as Donegal peppered the Cavan/Monaghan goals.
And the points were as good as in the bag four minutes later when Darragh Ellison squeezed the ball inside Lotscher’s right hand post after the ‘keeper had pulled off a double save from Liam McFadden.
Paddy McPhillips went close to pulling a goal back for Cavan/Monaghanon the stroke of half-time, but Eoin McGing was equal to it and pulled off a top drawer save to make sure Donegal were 2-0 up at the interval.
“There may have been a touch of good fortune about the first goal when the ‘keeper messed up but the second goal from Darragh was a good goal and put us in a good position at half-time,” said the Donegal manager Conor McCullagh.
“The plan was to break from the blocks and put them on the back foot from the word go and to hopefully hit a couple of goals because we have a busy four days ahead of us,” added McCullagh.
“We are heading to Scotland in the morning and are playing Glasgow Celtic U-15s tomorrow evening at their Lennoxtown training ground and on Tuesday we are playing Hamilton Academical U-15s and we are playing Cliftonville in Belfast on the way home on Wednesday.
“The fact that we were 2-0 up at half-time meant that we could rest some of the lads in the second half for the trip because these are a hectic few days for them. They will be playing four games in five days and in fact a number of them played for their clubs yesterday, which will mean they will be playing five games in six days.”
Despite making a host of changes in the second half, Donegal continued to dominate but failed to add to their tally and as the game fizzled out late on they were almost caught napping.
Aaron McCabe dispossessed Liam McFadden in the Donegal box but the Monaghan man missed the opportunity when he dragged his shot wide of Eoin McGing’s right hand post.
The win means that Donegal top the group on four points from their two games and only need a draw in their last game against Inishowen to qualify for a semi-final berth.
Donegal: Eoin McGing; Jack Parke (Rory O’Donnell 61), Conor Reilly (Aidan McHugh 60), Dylan O’Brien (Ronan Gallagher 45), Conor Doherty; Marc Walsh (James Doherty 61), Odhran McGuinness, Liam McFadden, Junior Adukua; Stephen McFadden (Joe Bradley Walsh 51), Daragh Ellison (Mikey McFadden 60).
Cavan/Monaghan: Finn Lotscher; Marc Melvin, Kevin Blair (Sean McKenna 53,inj), Jack Burke, Mark Mooney; Oisin Brady (John McCann 60), Paddy McPhillips, Aaron Mulligan, Aaron McCabe; Jamie McCullagh, Brendan McGerty (Leon McCabe 33).
Referee: Vincent McLoughlin.