Donegal were slow out of the blocks in yesterday’s Minor Final and it took centre half back JD Boyle to show the way with a wonderfully taken goal on 21 minutes.
At that stage, Donegal had kicked a number of poor wides and managed only a single point to Derry’s four.
But just when Donegal needed a response to Derry’s bright start, Boyle delivered, finishing off an impressive move by crashing the ball to the net past Ben McKinless.
It was a fantastic finish and it’s importance wasn’t lost on the Naomh Conaill man.
“It took us back into the game,” he said.
“We really pushed on from there. Niall (O’Donnell) and Eoghan (McGettigan) got some vital scores to keep us ahead at half time.
“It’s really important in tight championship games like these to get scores before half time and to go in with the momentum.”
Donegal led by two at the break, 1-4 to 0-5, and they were the better team in the second half.
“We didn’t want to make the same mistakes that we did against Monaghan when we let them back into it,” Boyle said.
“We were eight points up at one stage against Monaghan and they came back to within two points. We didn’t want the same thing to happen today so we just said in the dressing room, not to let the same thing happen.”
Their second goal, scored on 43 minutes by Nathan Boyle looked as though it would settle the final. The Aodh Ruadh man’s shot went in off the underside of the crossbar and off a defender and speaking after the game, he was delighted to have played his part in the win. “It’s an unbelievable feeling, words can’t describe how amazing this feeling is,” he said.
“The support was unbelievable. They really brought us over the line at the end.”
Referring to the goal, set up by Jason McGee, Boyle added,: “Derry had put us up to us in the first half and we knew we had to come out strong in the second half and I was lucky to get on the end of a good move.”
His team-mate, JD Boyle, said playing in the final, in front of such a big crowd, was a fantastic experience.
We knew with the backroom team that we had that we definitely get to an Ulster Final this year and that we’d push to win it.
“But the boys really played well today and when Derry got the last goal, we knew we’d have to keep the heads which thankfully we did.”