Donegal rounded off their Ulster Minor Football League group campaign with a narrow and hard fought victory over Antrim in Ahoghill, Co. Antrim, yesterday.
They are now looking forward to a Shield semi-final meeting with Down next Saturday, after missing out on a place in the Minor League semi-final proper as they finished third in Group B behind Tyrone and Derry.
Donegal finished on four points following yesterday’s win over the Saffrons and their opening round hammering of Fermanagh in Convoy.
They went into the game needing a win and hoping that Fermanagh would do the business against Derry in Ennskillen, but with the Oak Leafers emerging 2-13 to 1-8 winners from that encounter, it is Derry that join Tyrone in the race for the Minor League crown.
Donegal dominated for long stages after conceding two Antrim goals in the opening four minutes. They bossed the remainder of the tie and only that they left their shooting at home could have won by a bigger margin.
Darragh Mulgrew, Ryan McHugh in defence, Raymond McNamee at midfield while John McGarvey, Callum Gallagher and Eoin McHugh were the pick of the forwards.
Donegal recovered from that nightmare start and those two Antrim goals inside four minutes to lead 0-7 to 2-0 at half-time, with Mulgrew, Raymond McNamee, Mark Gallagher, Ryan and Eoin McHugh scoring the points.
And despite playing into a stiff breeze and into an incline they dominated the second period and when John Fitzgerald hit their only goal, they moved in a commanding lead.
Antrim did mount a late challenge after Raymond McNamee limped out of the action as they hit four points without reply to reduce the margin to the minimum.
But in the end a wasteful Donegal, who posted 13 bad wides, most of them in the second half, held on for a fully merited victory and a Shield semi-final showdown with the Mourne Co.
Donegal scorers: John Fitzgerald 1-1; Darragh Mulgrew, Raymond McNamee, Mark Gallagher, Ryan McHugh, Eoin McHugh, Callum Gallagher, Willie Gillespie, Aodhan McGinley 0-1 each.
Donegal: Sean McCafferty; Conor Parke, Oisin Carr, Gary Kelly; Ciaran Lynch, Darragh Mulgrew, Ryan McHugh; Raymond McNamee, Mark Gallagher; John Fitzgerald, Aodhan McGinley, Conor McCormack; Callum Gallagher, Conor Harkin, Willie Gillespie. Subs: Eoin McHugh for C.Harkin; Daniel Mularkey for S. McCafferty (inj); John McGarvey for C. Cormack; Conor Harkin for R. McNamee.