DONEGAL minors seek ulster final spot


DONEGAL minors seek ulster final spot
B: Tom Comack sport

 Donegal and Monaghan minor footballers are first into action next Saturday evening in Kingspan Breffni Park.

They go head to head in the Electric Ireland Ulster Minor Championship semi final which throws in at 5pm.

Donegal and Monaghan are no strangers as they have met once already this season in the Ulster Minor league, while a number of players from both sides would have also crossed paths in colleges football.

Going on the Ulster league meeting - a semi final played back in the middle of April in Clones - this game promises to be a close affair.

St Eunan’s Niall O’Donnell scored the equalising point on the stroke of normal time to tie up the game at 0-18 each and force extra time.

Donegal eventually won the game by two points, 0-23 to 0-21 after extra time. They hit five points to Monaghan’s three to advance to the final with Tyrone.

O’Donnell hit 0-13 of Donegal’s total in a man of the match performance. Jason McGee, in the middle of the field, Nathan Boyle in the half forward line and the halfback line of Aidan McLaughlin, JD Boyle and Odhran Shields, were the other stand-out performers in the semi-final.

David Garland was the go to man up front for Monaghan.

The right corner forward scored 11 points, five of them from frees, and full forward Michael Bannigan scored 0-4 and Tyler Hanlon in the left corner also kicked a point to bring the tally for the front three to 16 points.

This line is obviously going to take watching in Saturday’s tie.

Donegal defeated Tyrone by two points, thanks to a late Aidan McLaughlin goal, to clinch a first ever three in a row Ulster Minor League title.

Donegal and Monaghan each have a game played in the championship with neither being overly impressive.

Niall O’Donnell, with another man of the match performance, rescued the hot favourities against Antrim in the quarter-final, as he twice dragged 14-man Donegal from an embarrassing defeat.

Donegal lost Eoghain McGettigan to a red card early in the second half .

They went four points down twice in the second period as they were carved open for two Antrim goals.

But on each occasion O’Donnell stood up and was counted when it mattered and Donegal ran out four point winners, 2-11 to 2-7. O’Donnell scored 2-5.

Donegal received a big boost last week when McGettigan’s red card was resinded on appeal to the Ulster Council. The Naomh Conaill ace is now free to play on Saturday evening.

Monaghan defeated Down in their quarter final.