Donegal blitz Derry after break

Donegal blitz Derry after break
Donegal produced a purple patch after half-time to blow Derry away in Celtic Park and secure an Ulster semi-final spot.

Donegal produced a purple patch after half-time to blow Derry away in Celtic Park and secure an Ulster semi-final spot.

Donegal 1-11

Derry 0-11

In a 12 minute period after half-time Donegal hit 1-5 to no score for Derry and that more or less settled the tie.

The goal was a superb finish from Leo McLoone as he lifted the ball over Thomas Mallon with Ryan McHugh, Michael Murphy and Frank McGlynn creating the clinical opening.

Michael Murphy was inspired in this period, hitting a point from play and then a sideline from 45m. Patrick McBrearty fired over after another great move involving Martin McElhinney, who made a great impact when brought on for the second half.

Donegal then went back to defending and allowed Derry back with three points from Benny Herron, Mark Lynch and Emmet Bradley.

It took a magnificent burst from Martin McElhinney and good finish to give Donegal a lift with 10 minutes left.

It was back to defending again with David Walsh making a timely interception to deny Derry a goal chance as Herron and Lynch reduced the leeway to two with eight left.

On the stroke of time Karl Lacey got forward to find Leo McLoone and he cooly slotted with his left to ease Donegal worries.

Just before the end Derry lost James Kielt to a black card, having earlier got a yellow.


Starting without their midfield pairing of Neil Gallagher and Martin McElhinney, it became a game of chess with Derry dominating possession.

Donegal had Paddy McGrath back in for his first game of the year and Darach O’Connor made his championship bow.

Donegal, however, had a great goal chance with Patrick McBrearty blasting wide from close range on 11 minutes after Anthony Thompson gathered McBrearty’s effort that came back off the upright.

Darach Jigger O’Connor equalised Mark Lynch’s opening point and the sides were level twice more with Lynch and Emmet Bradley for Derry and Christy Toye and Karl Lacey for Donegal.

Derry then took a three point lead with Niall Holly hitting a wonder poing followed by Emmet Bradley (free) and Ciaran McFaul. Just before the break Michael Murphy converted a free after Paddy McGrath was fouled while Niall Holly messed up a great Derry goal chance on the stroke of half-time

It was not a game for the purists with the first half, in particular, not easy on the eye. But Jim McGuinness and Donegal will not worry about that. They have the chance now to make the Ulster final for the fourth year in-a-row and they will have Rory Kavanagh back for the meeting with Fermanagh or Antrim.

Derry: Thomas Mallon; Dermot McBride, Gareth McKinless, Chrissy McKaigue; Kevin Johnson, Gerard O’Kane, Sean Leo McGoldrick; Fergal Doherty, Patsy Bradley; Ciaran McFaul (0-1), Mark Lynch (0-4,3f), Enda Lynn; Emmet Bradley (0-2,2f), Emmett McGuckin, Cailean O’Boyle. Subs., Niall Holly (0-1) for F Doherty 15; Ryan Bell for O’Boyle 42; Benny Herron (0-2,f,45); Oisin Duffy for Johnson 58; James Kielt for McGuckin 60; Ciaran McGoldrick for E Bradley 68.

Donegal: Paul Durcan; Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Eamon McGee; Frank McGlynn, Karl Lacey (0-1), Anthony Thompson (0-1); Christy Toye (0-1), Odhran MacNiallais; Darach O’Connor (0-1), Leo McLoone (1-1), Ryan McHugh; Patrick McBrearty (0-1), Michael Murphy (0-4,2f,s/l), Colm McFadden. Subs., Martin McElhinney (0-1) for Toye ht; Neil Gallagher for O’Connor 42; David Walsh for MacNiallais 57; Luke Keaney for McBrearty 63; Dermot Molloy for McFadden 68.

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)