Ryan McHugh . . . another magnificent display for Donegal
Donegal were just too strong for Fermanagh as they lifted their ninth Ulster title in St. Tiernach's Park, Clones.
Once they got into their stride Donegal were just superior in most areas. They hit two super goals from Eoghan Ban Gallagher and Ryan McHugh to be in control at half-time and they never looked in trouble after that.
Their final tally was again impressive and they can look forward with confidence to the Super 8s and a meeting with Dublin in three weeks' time. In all they had 13 different scorers on the day.
It was an historic occasion also for a number of players including Michael Murphy, Paddy McGrath, Leo McLoone, Frank McGlynn and Patrick McBrearty who were winning their fourth Ulster medal on the field.
It took Donegal a while to get going in the sun in Clones. Fermanagh took the lead on seven minutes with Sean Quigley pointing after Ryan Jones was fouled.
But they would wait 18 minutes for another score as Donegal took a grip, winning most of the breaks.
Odhran MacNiallais had them level before Michael Langan made a big contribution, involved in three scores from the 14-21st minutes. Firstly he drove through the middle to put Donegal ahead. Then a minute later he was at the start of the move for the first goal. Patrick McBrearty took it on before releasing Ryan McHugh and he crossed for Eoghan Ban Gallagher to palm home.
On 21 minutes Langan was again involved as he set up Eoghan Ban Gallagher for Donegal's third point.
After a foul on Ryan McHugh, Michael Murphy pointed from fully 55m. An off the ball tug by Odhran Mac Niallais allowed Sean Quigley to get Fermanagh's second poing on 25 minutes.
Paul Brennan replied for Donegal before Eoin Donnelly had a point from play for Fermanagh.
But Donegal put daylight between the teams on 25 minutes when Paul Brennan found Ryan McHugh near the sideline. The Kilcar man burst through three tackles before rifling to the roof of the net.
Points from Quigley (free) and Ciaran Corrigan cut the deficit to six but Donegal finished the half well with Patrick McBrearty pointing and Michael Murphy converting a free after an off the ball foul on Ryan McHugh, which led to Michael Jones being black carded.
Half-time: Donegal 2-7, Fermanagh 0-5.
Paul Brennan added to the Donegal lead within two minutes of the restart but they lost Patrick McBrearty to an injury picked up just before the break.
Seamus Quigley, in at half-time, hit a great point before Donegal created two goal chances. Jamie Brennan was involved in both, being blocked for the first and then setting up Paddy McGrath, who palmed to the net, but the goal was disallowed for being in the square.
Sean Quigley pointed a free but Ciaran Thompson replied after a great run by Eoghan Ban Gallagher.
It was the same when Barry Mulrone pointed, Jamie Brennan was almost in again but was fouled and Michael Murphy pointed on 51 minutes to leave eight between them.
Conall Jones had a point but Donegal hit three, two from Ciaran Thompson and a rare point from Paddy McGrath, after he burst through and fisted over.
From there to the finish it was a canter as Donegal sealed their ninth Ulster title win.
Scorers - Donegal: Michael Murphy 0-4,3f; Eoghan Ban Gallagher 1-1; Ryan McHugh 1-0; Ciaran Thompson 0-3,1f; Paul Brennan 0-2; Paddy McGrath, Cian Mulligan, Michael Langan, Patrick McBrearty, Jamie Brennan, Mark McHugh, Odhran Mac Niallais, Darach O'Connor 0-1 each.
Fermanagh: Sean Quigley 0-4,4f; Seamus Quigley 0-3,1f; Barry Mulrone, Eoin Donnelly, Conall Jones, Ciaran Corrigan, Ruairi Corrigan 0-1 each.
DONEGAL: Shaun Patton; Paddy McGrath, Stephen McMenamin, Eoghan Ban Gallagher; Frank McGlynn, Paul Brennan, Ryan McHugh; Hugh McFadden, Michael Murphy; Ciaran Thompson, Odhran MacNiallais, Leo McLoone; Patrick McBrearty, Michael Langan, Jamie Brennan. Subs., Daire O Baoill for McBrearty 38; Caolan Ward for P Brennan 57; Anthony Thompson for Mac Niallais 61; Cian Mulligan for Langan 63; Mark McHugh for C Thompson 63; Darach O'Connor for J Brennan 68
FERMANAGH: Patrick Cadden; Kane Connor, Che Cullen, Michael Jones; Barry Mulrone, James McMahon, Lee Cullen; Eoin Donnelly, Ryan Jones; Paul McCusker, Declan McCusker, Aidan Breen; Sean Quigley, Conall Jones, Ciaran Corrigan. Subs., Eamon McHugh for K Connor 32; Cian McManus for M Jones bcard ht; Seamus Quigley for P McCusker ht; Tom Clarke for C Corrigan 45; Ruairi Corrigan for Sean Quigley 57; Daniel Teague for D McCusker 67
REFEREE: David Gough (Meath).