Oisin Gallen on the ball for Donegal minors
Donegal minors were dumped out of the Ulster Minor Championship by Antrim in MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey.
After coming back from seven points down in the first half to dominate the second period, they were not able to hold a late lead in normal time as Antrim forced extra-time.
Even in extra-time Donegal held an early advantage with a goal from Oisin Gallen, but Antrim refused to throw in the towel and they hit three points in the second period of extra-time to prevail by the minimum.
It was a difficult opening half for the Donegal minors, who trailed by four at the break, but could have been ahead if they had taken two really good goal chances.
In a hectic opening, Aaron Doherty pointed for Donegal after 15 seconds and 30 seconds later, Doherty was involved as Oisin Gallen got the final pass but his effort for goal was blocked. Antrim broke upfield for Tiarnan McAteer to level, all inside 90 seconds.
Eoin Nagle put Antrim in the lead but then Peadar Mogan was through on goal on five minutes but was denied by a brilliant stop by ‘keeper Michael Byrne.
Antrim then took over and hit four points before the 11th minute through Dermot McErlaine (free), McAteer, Liam Quinn and John McCaffrey. Liam Quinn was becoming a tormentor in chief for the Donegal defence.
A Peadar Mogan break saw Conor O’Donnell get Donegal’s second point, but Liam Quinn replied.
Aaron Doherty had a good point from play but two more from livewire Liam Quinn and one from Ronan Kelly had Antrim 0-10 to 0-3 ahead on 20 minutes.
Donegal got back in the game thanks to a freak goal on 22 minutes. A Peadar Mogan free seemed to be going over the crossbar but dipped just under the bar with the ‘keeper stranded.
Before half-time Paddy Dolan and Oisin Gallen added Donegal points to two from Ronan Kelly and a Liam Quinn free (which seemed very harsh against Peadar Mogan as he won a 50-50 challenge).
Half-time: Donegal 1-5. Antrim 0-12.
The second half saw Donegal transformed. Luke Gavigan was now marking dangerman Quinn and the Antrim scores dried up. Two points from Thomas McGowan and Oisin Gallen cut the leeway before Ronan Kelly replied.
However, the momentum began to swing towards Donegal with Peadar Mogan pointing a free and Conor O’Donnell found the range from distance.
Tiarnan McAteer had a rare Antrim point as Donegal kept coming forward. Substitute Shea Doherty hit two great points from distance to level matters and with two minutes of normal time left, Aaron Doherty performed a great turnover which ended with Lanty Molloy fisting Donegal ahead.
In a frenetic finish Jeaic McKelvey was black carded for hand tripping Eoghan McCabe as he broke through. Liam Quinn levelled from the free and then Antrim had Dermot McErlaine black carded in added time.
It looked as if Donegal were on their way extra-time when Peadar Mogan put them in the lead and then Oisin Gallen finished to the net after Aaron Doherty’s effort was saved.
But Antrim refused to give in and Malachi Doherty and Eoin Nagle had points to leave them just a point adrift at the break in extra-time.
Then in the second period up stepped Ruairi Brolly, son of Joe, to fire two quick points and in the final minute Tiarnan McAteer hit what proved to be the winner.
DONEGAL: Cian Randles; Luke Gavigan, Aaron Deeney, Carl McGlynn; Colin McFadden (0-1), Jeaic McKelvey, Paul Murphy; Ronan Docherty, Conor O’Donnell (0-2); Paddy Dolan (0-1), Aaron Doherty (0-2), Brian O’Donnell; Peadar Mogan (1-2,1f, 1-0f), Oisin Gallen (1-2), Keelan McGroddy. Subs., Thomas McGowan (0-1) for B O’Donnell 26; Shay Doherty (0-2) for Dolan 46; Lanty Molloy (0-1) for McGroddy 50; Jack McSharry for C O’Donnell 60+1; Michael McGroary for McKelvey, bcard 60+3. Extra-time: Paddy Dolan for Gallen 10.
ANTRIM: Michael Byrne; Eamon Kelly, John Toner, Aidan Mulholland; Jamie Gribbin, Eoghan McCabe, John McCaffrey (0-1); Ethan Gibson, Joe Maybin; Eoin Nagle (0-2), Dermot McErlaine (0-1,f), Tiarnan McAteer (0-4); Liam Quinn (0-7,4f), Dominic McEnhill, Ronan Kelly (0-3,1f). Subs., Malachi Doherty (0-1) for McCaffrey 41; Jack Lenehan for Maybin 46; Ruairi Brolly (0-2) for R Kelly 52; Kealan McCann for Gibson; Peter Henvey for McEnhill, both 56; Jamie McCann for McErlaine, bcard 60+4. Extra-time: Declan Smyth for K McCann, bcard 5; Seanachan Duffin for Kelly 10; John McCaffrey for Gribbin 19.
REFEREE: Steven Campbell (Tyrone)