Donegal minors got their Ulster Minor League campaign off to a great start with an easy win over Fermanagh on Wednesday night.
Report: Peter Campbell
Photos: Conor McGonagle
The game marked the first official game under lights at Convoy and it was a perfect setting for one of the most progressive clubs in the county. The pitch was again perfect and the lights were equally as impressive.
Fermanagh were without the MacRory Cup winning contingent from St. Michael’s, which varied according to reports from five to 12.
Despite that Donegal were in flying form and the preparations under new manager Stephen Friel were on show for the good sized attendance.
The Zumba classes in the main hall of the complex must have given the Donegal boys the perfect gee-up as they took the pitch and on a perfect evening for football, the Convoy ladies also supplied the half-time cup of tea for the journalists.
From the first whistle Donegal were really sharp and by the time the half-time whistle sounded they had racked up 0-10 to just one point in reply. Oisin Carr, named at corner-forward, was pulled back to play centre-back, allowing Ryan McHugh a free role to orchestrate things.
Everything was going their way with Aodhan McGinley on song from placed balls; Willie Gillespie hitting two great points while Eoin McHugh could have finished with a tally of 3-6 if he had taken all his chances and not found the Fermanagh ‘keeper in top form.
The Donegal side dropped their energy levels a little in the third quarter but the goal which was threatened came in the 46th minute with Ryan and Eoin McHugh combining for Ryan to hammer finally defeat the Fermanagh ‘keeper.
By that stage Fermanagh had lost Kevin Curran to a second yellow card and before the end full-back Niall Carson suffered a similar fate. It certainly wasn’t a dirty game but the continuous attack from Donegal had put the Fermanagh backline under pressure.
The second Donegal goal came in the 59th minute with Conor Harkin embellishing a good display at midfield as he smashed home an unstoppable shot.
Overall, a very good opening round display from Donegal, who will probably get a much tougher test when they take on Tyrone at home on Saturday next in MacCumhaill Park.
Donegal: Daniel Mullarkey; Ciaran Lynch, Nicholas Breslin, Conor Parke; Stephen McBrearty, Ryan McHugh (1-2), Gary Kelly; Raymond McNamee, Conor Harkin (1-1); Kevin McNern, Cathal McGettigan, Aodhan McGinley (0-7,7f); Oisin Carr, Willie Gillespie (0-2), Eoin McHugh (0-2). Subs., Brendan McNelis for McGettigan ht; Mark Gallagher (0-1) for Gillespie 44; Kevin O’Loughlin for McNern; Kevin Herron for McBrearty, both 49; Conor Cairns for Mullarkey 56.
Fermanagh: Ryan McNulty; Martin Began, Niall Carson, Ciaran Corrigan; Paul Coulter, Philly Leonard (0-1,f), Niall McMahon; John O’Reilly, Colin Logan; Kevin Curran, Jack McCann, Owen McManus; Sean Keenan (0-1), James Allan, Sean Mullaney. Subs., Shane O’Hare for Began 21; Sean Mimnagh (0-1) for Logan; Sean M Breen for Allan; Dara Leonard for Mullaney, all ht.
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)
Man of match
There were some great displays from Donegal players including Gary Kelly, Ryan McHugh, Conor Harkin, Willie Gillespie, Eoin McHugh. Aodhan McGinley was excellent from placed balls, while Philly Leonard stood out for Fermanagh. The award goes to Ryan McHugh, who led by example and revelled in the freedom of his role.
Tyrone referee Sean Hurson kept a close eye on the game, but also tried to keep it moving. Overall had a very good game.