Donegal ease into Dr. McKenna Cup semi-final with good win over 14-man Cavan


Tom Comack


Tom Comack

Donegal ease into Dr. McKenna Cup semi-final with good win over 14-man Cavan

Donegal's Martin McElhinney in action in his 100th game for Donegal Picture: Thomas Gallagher

Donegal are into the semi-final of the Bank of Ireland Dr. McKenna Cup with an eight point win over Cavan in Ballybofey.

Donegal 1-20

Cavan  1-12

In the end Donegal had it easy enough with Michael Langan outstanding but it was against a Cavan side that played with 14 men for most of the contest.

Donegal will meet Armagh in the semi-final after the Orchard County edged out Monaghan by a point at the Athletic Grounds. The semi-final is fixed for Sunday in Healy Park, Omagh with a 1.30 p.m. throw-in.

Donegal started with four changes from the team that played Down at the weekend. Ryan McHugh came in for his first start instead of his cousin, Eoin; Shaun Patton replaced Mark Anthony McGinley in goal; Paul Brennan started in place of Ciaran Thompson while Peadar Mogan was replaced by Jason McGee. Martin McElhinney started to mark a special day - his 100th game for the county.

With Cavan being reduced to 14 men inside the first eight minutes when David Phillips was dismissed for a challenge on Jamie Brennan, Donegal had it pretty easy.

Indeed, they should have been further ahead than four points at the break (0-10 to 0-6)

Donegal led 0-2 to 0-1 after four minutes with Michael Langan and Niall O’Donnell pointing while Conor Madden had the opening Cavan point.

Jamie Brennan hit two points in quick succession in the 8th and 9th minute but Cavan responded with points from Pearse Smith, Raymond Galligan (free) and Madden again to level it at 0-4 each.

But then Donegal, and more to the point, Michael Langan got going. In the second quarter Langan hit 0-5 with some great scores and Niall O’Donnell added another as Donegal stretched the lead to 0-10 to 0-5 before Paul Graham had the final point of the half for Cavan.

Donegal also had a great goal chance on 25 minutes when Brendan McCole found himself through on goal but Raymond Galligan made a great save.

Martin McElhinney marked his 100th game with the first point of the second half and Jamie Brennan added another before Pierce Smith responded for Cavan.

Ryan McHugh added Donegal’s 13th point but Smith again hit back to leave the margin at five points.

Shaun Patton was called into action to make a great save with Raymond Galligan pointing the resulting ‘45’

Points from Michael Langan and Niall O’Donnell stretched the lead to six with 52 minutes on the clock. Langan’s super shooting continued as he notched his eighth point with 15 minutes left.

Then Jamie Brennan went through direct to fire home a goal and Donegal were home and hosed. The Bundoran man added a quick point to take his tally to 1-4 before he was replaced.

Langan and substitute Oisin Gallen added further points before Cavan got a goal back in the final minute of normal time through Kevin Tierney before Oisin Gallen added his second point in added time.

DONEGAL: Shaun Patton; Caolan Ward, Brendan McCole, Conor Morrison; Ryan McHugh (0-1), Eamonn Doherty, Martin McElhinney (0-1) Hugh McFadden, Jason McGee; Paul Brennan, Niall O’Donnell (0-3), Caolan McGonagle; Martin O’Reilly, Michael Langan (0-9,4f), Jamie Brennan (1-4).

Subs: Peadar Mogan for P Brennan 47; John Campbell for M O’Reilly 52; Oisin Gallen (0-2) for M McElhinney 56; Lorcan Connor for J Brennan 60; Paddy Dolan for R McHugh 62;

CAVAN: Raymond Galligan (0-2,f, ‘45’); David Phillips, Padraig Faulkner, Jason McLoughlin; Ciaran Brady, Martin Reilly (0-1), Conor Rehill; Michael Argue, James Galligan; Paul Graham (0-1), Stephen Smith, Pierce Smith (0-3,1f); Conor Bradley, James Smith, Conor Madden (0-3).

Subs: Conor Moynagh for Martin O’ Reilly 15; Luke Fortune (0-1) for J Smith h/t; Niall Clerkin for J Galligan 45;  Cian Mackey (0-1,f) for P Smith 50; Kevin Tierney (1-0) for S Smith 52.

REFEREE: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).