The Donegal Vocational Schools team are back in the Ulster final after a facile win over Down in the semi-final played at Killyclogher today.
Report: Peter Campbell
The game was over as a contest by as early as the 11th minute, by which stage Donegal led by 3-1 to 0-1 as they completely overwhelmed the Mourne boys in the opening quarter.
Willie Gillespie was pulling the strings and Cian Mulligan had the opening goal after just two minutes. He was on hand when an effort from David McCarron was cut out by a Down defender into his path and he made no mistake.
Willie Gillespie was wide with another goal chance on five minutes but won the kick-out and fired over Donegal’s opening point.
Cory Quinn had a Down point before Gillespie made another goal chance for David McCarron. Then on ten minutes, Gillespie was nudged as he went for goal and referee Stephen McNamee awarded what was a soft penalty but Darragh O’Connor made no mistake from the spot.
Within a minute Gillespie had set up the third goal and Darragh ‘Jigger’ O’Connor made no mistake.
Lorcan Connors added a point before ‘Jigger’ O’Connor had the fourth Donegal goal on 14 minutes before Conor Harkin pointed a free to put Donegal 4-3 to 0-1 ahead, a lead of fourteen points.
Down did stage a small comeback in the final ten minutes with points from Rory Burns and two from Rory Hughes and Cory Quinn blazed over a good goal chance.
Willie Gillespie had Donegal’s final score of the half from a free to leave his side comfortably ahead at the break, 4-4 to 0-4.
The second half was a much more subdued affair from a Donegal point of view. They shared the opening four points with Down, Cathal McGettigan and Darragh O’Connor scoring while Aidan McCartin and Cory Quinn converted Down frees.
Quinn added two more Down points to reduce the margin to 4-6 to 0-8, but that proved to be their last score as Donegal finished well in the final ten minutes with ‘Gigger’ O’Connor pointing before Cian Mulligan got his second goal and Frank Gallagher and Lee O’Brien had points in the final minutes.
Apart from the excellent Willie Gillespie, Darragh O’Connor was outstanding at full-forward; Conor Harkin, Cian Mulligan, Cathal McGettigan, Conor McCormick and the Scally twins also excelled.
Donegal will now meet either Cavan or Monaghan in the Ulster final which has been set for Brewster Park, Enniskillen, on Thursday night of next week.
Donegal: Luke Kelly; Owen Scally, Shaun McLaughlin, Jack Scally; Lee O’Brien (0-1), Conor McCormick, Aaron Dalton; Patrick Gillespie, Cathal McGettigan (0-1), Cian Mulligan (2-0), Willie Gillespie (0-2,1f), Conor Harkin (0-1,f); Lorcan Connors (0-1), Darragh O’Connor (3-2, 1-0pen); David McCarron. Subs., Joe Blaney for Dalton ht; Eoghan Ban Gallagher for McCarron 44; Frank Gallagher (0-1) for Connors 49; Martin Gillespie for Harkin 56; Jason Marley for Mulligan 58.
Down: Gareth Caulfield; Liam Fegan, Cathal Greenan, Mark Fegan; Ross Cunningham, Padraig McGurn, Rory Hughes (0-2,1’45’); Rory McKernan, Wayne Campbell; Aidan McCartin (0-1,f), Rory Burns (0-1), Cathal Rogers; Paul Lavely, Cory Quinn (0-4,2f), Ryan Brannigan.
Referee: Stephen McNamee (Tyrone)