Both Donegal and Inishowen sides put in battling performances against each other and against the heavy winter conditions, with the Donegal league side taking victory by the narrowest of margins in Buncrana.
Donegal League U-15s 1
Inishowen League U-15s 0
Inishowen certainly enjoyed the clearer chances in the first half but both goalkeepers had to be on their toes as both sides worked hard to create chances.
The Donegal side kept Inishowen pinned back with much of the early possession. BJ Banda and Gareth Doherty both had early long range chances but Lee McCarron dealt comfortably with them in the tricky conditions.
The real danger came from Inishowen when they hit their opponents on the break. A number of good links between James McKinney, Aiden Friel and Darragh Folan left the Donegal defence scrambling to clear the danger. On the 17 minute mark Friel was involved again feeding a pass to Chris McKinley whose shot just went just wide.
Another chance went abegging for the Inishowen lads as Lee McColgan’s crossed free kick pierced through the Donegal defence a metre or so from the goal but three of his team mates failed to connect and it was a let-off for the visitors.
In the latter part of the half Donegal began to make more of their possession with BJ Banda having a headed opportunity saved from a corner and minutes later his own long range cross had ‘keeper McCarron scrambling back as the increasingly strong wind had added pace to his effort. ‘Keeper and post combined to deny him.
Just on the stroke of half time Donegal’s Duncan Patterson went down under a heavy challenge and had to be helped from the pitch with a painful foot injury.
In the second half Donegal again dominated in the amount of possession and started to keep the Inishowen team pinned back. Their defence looked solid though and dealt with the building pressure with ease. Again on the break one of the best chances of the game fell to Darragh Folan whose shot just crept wide keeping it scoreless five minutes into the half. Anthony O’Hagan was on from to stop a thunderous shot from Cathal Farren after a classy turn and strike.
As the game wore on both sides began to use their bench and it was the Donegal substitutions that made the difference while they still kept their form and pressed as hard as ever. Patrick Carr replaced Luke Nelis on 25 minutes and got busy straight away. Within eight minutes of being introduced he latched on to a wide cross and from close range his low shot found the back of the net breaking the deadlock.
As the clock ticked down, both sides continued to work hard as the wind and rain made conditions increasingly difficult. Both sides had half chances but the ‘keepers were up to the challenge and Donegal were happy to claim a hard fought win at full time.
Inishowen U-15s: Lee McCarron, Ultan McCool, Lee McColgan, Anthony McNutt. Sam Todd, Darragh Folan (Stephen Grant), Paul Doherty, Aiden Friel (Scott McElhinney), Cathal Farren, Chris McKinley, James McKinney (Eoin Murphy).
Donegal U-15s: Anthony O’Hagan, Paul Kelly, Luke Nelis (Patrick Carr), Jason McGee, Dylan Doherty, Gareth Doherty, Adrian Delap (Niall Carr), Duncan Patterson (Enda McCormick), BJ Banda, Eoin Slevin (James McSharry), Dylan McGroary (Cormac Toland).
Referee: Danny McLaughlin