Donegal minor hurlers exited the All Ireland B championship at the quarter final stage on Saturday with a defeat at the hands of last year’s runner up Roscommon in Athleague.
The early exchanges were close. Points from Liam Kilcline, Conor Mulry, Tom Mullen and Robbie Fallon for Roscommon were answered by two scores from Donegal’s Justin Browne. However, the last ten minutes of the half turned the game in the home team’s favour. Roscommon scored 2-4 in a spell of dominance with a superb solo goal from Kilcline in the 20th minute, a clever finish to the net by Gavin Downey seven minutes later and further strikes by Fallon. Donegal managed only one point by Browne in reply, leaving a scoreline of 2-8 to 0-3 at the break.
The visitors came more strongly into the game in the second half. However, while having much of the possession Donegal failed to put away their chances with a series of wides. Two further points from Browne were more than matched by the home team’s star Fallon who managed six points in this period, three from play. A late exchange of points between Gearóid Egan and Donegal sub Sam Doherty left Roscommon running out comfortable winners.
Roscommon had strong performances throughout from Chris Duignan, Cathal Dolan, Egan and the superb forward trio of Kilcline, Mulry and Fallon. Donegal will be greatly encouraged by the quality of play of defenders Shane Gallen, Donal McLaughlin and Mark Callaghan and Conor Harkin, Kevin Meehan and Conor McCormack in attack. Roscommon go forward to face Kerry, Armagh or Kildare in the All Ireland semi final, while Donegal will hope to build on the experience of competing at this higher level.
Roscommon: Kevin Kellehan, Chris Duignan, Shane Naughton, Gearóid McDermott, Paul Dolan, Cathal Dolan, Shane McCormack, Padraig Brennan, Gearóid Egan, (0-1), Tom Mullen (0-1), Aaron Donnelly, Gavin Downey (1-1), Robbie Fallon (0-8), Liam Kilcline (1-3), Conor Mulry (0-2). Subs: Jason Martin, Paul Joyce, Seán Naughton, Leo Conroy, Conor Fallon, Oisin Hession, Joe Brennan, Eamon Regan, Barry Mullen.
Donegal: Dylan Lafferty, Francis Lennon, Donal McLaughlin, Mark Callaghan, Justin Browne (0-5), Shane Gallen, Bernard Lafferty, Conor Parke, Conor Harkin, Joe Alvey, Kevin Meehan, Conor McCormack, Conor Grant, Gavin McGrath, Conor Gallen. Subs: Eamon McGrath, Stephen Nelson, Tiarnan McConnell, Oisín Porter, Sam Doherty (0-1), Ciaran O’Leary, Aaron D’Alton, Daniel Wilson, Ryan Duffy, Michael Dullaghan, Jamie McLaughlin, Seán Curran, Raymond McNamee, David Ireland, Michael Farrell, Rory Cullen.