Donegal under-12 schoolboys advanced to the last four of the national cup with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Athlone in Donegal Town on Sunday afternoon.
The home side went behind after failing to clear the danger from a free kick that was floated deep into the danger area before being scrambled over the line on ten minutes.
But for a superb save from Athlone’s lively midfielder, Matthew Nally, by ‘keeper, Eoin O’Boyle, who raced from his line to clear the danger, the hosts could have found themselves 2-0 in arrears and up against. However, they settled and parity was restored on the stroke of half time when a looping cross-cum-shot from left back, Ryan Toye, deceived everyone and ended up in the back of the net. This was to prove the turning point of the contest.
Boosted by the equaliser, Donegal upped the ante from the restart and three goals in a seven minute spell left them in a position of absolute control for the final quarter. Conor O’Donnell raided down the right before teeing up Keelan McGill who drilled home low and hard from ten yards to give Johnny Key’s charges the lead. Soon after, O’Donnell’s shot was only half saved by the visiting net minder and Ronan McHugh showed great awareness to poke the ball home from close range for a vital third goal. O’Donnell completed the rout when rounding the ‘keeper and the last defender after a run down the right before slotting home from an acute angle.
Donegal, who defeated Inishowen and Sligo in previous rounds, can now look forward to a home draw in the semi-final on Saturday week, May 5th.
Donegal - Eoin O’Boyle, James Carolan, Ryan Toye, Peter McEniff, Luke Gavigan, Joe McGill, Cathal Feeney, Keelan McGill, Conor O’Donnell, Ronan McHugh, Bernard McGettigan. Subs - Jamie Keegan, Sammuel McClintock, Shane McDevitt, Michael Gallagher, Matthew McKenna, Conor Walker, Jamie Lee Blaney.
Athlone - Stephen McGonagle, Keith Rushe, Darren Duff, Paul Carey, Ciaran Cotclough, Heather Payne, Sam Maxwell, Matthew Nally, Tom O’Carroll, Joe Carmody, Calum O’Brien. Subs - James Downes, Fred Kelleher, Aaron Nugent, Kevin Rowan, Jason Nugent.