Donegal sharpshooter Patrick McBrearty who hit 0-8. Photo Thomas Gallagher
Donegal had it their own way as they cruised to victory in the second half against Armagh in the Dr. McKenna Cup semi-final in Celtic Park, Derry.
With a visit to Kerry on the horizon next weekend in the opening game of the National League, Donegal will be happy accumulating a big score once more.
Both sides fielded experimental sides and it was Armagh who were much the sharper in the opening quarter.
They had two points on the board inside eight minutes through a Michael Stevenson '45' and one from play from the very sharp full-forward Eamon McGeown.
Donegal were without the McHugh brothers, Mark and Ryan and Odhrán Mac Niallais, but they did have sharpshooter Patrick McBrearty and he had them back on terms by the 11th minute, one from a free and the other a fisted effort.
The big Armagh full-forward Eamon McGeown edged Armagh ahead in front again as Donegal seemed in trouble under the high ball.
Patrick McBrearty had a goal chance but Armagh broke quickly and another high ball saw McGeown win possession. His effort was well blocked by Mark Anthony McGinley, but he was on hand to follow up and fire to the net.
McBrearty replied from a free but Oisin Mac Iomhair edged Armagh four clear again in the 16th minute.
It was then that Donegal came into the game and by the 25th minute they were a point to the good with points from Darach O'Connor, two from McBrearty, Ciaran Thompson and the eighth from impressive midfielder Nathan Mullins.
Michael Stevenson punished after another high ball with a levelling point and before half-time McBrearty and Stephen Sheridan traded points to leave the sides deadlocked at the break, Armagh 1-6, Donegal 0-9.
McBrearty was on the target again at the start of the second half and while Conor White levelled again, points from McBrearty and substitute Niall O'Donnell edged Donegal two clear. Newcomer Nathan Mullins added another on 49 minutes and Stephen McBrearty could have had a goal, but opted for a point as Armagh struggled to contain the Donegal attack.
The strong running Paul Brennan created a point for Darach O'Connor while Niall O'Donnell stretched the lead to six points with nine minutes left.
Michael Stevenson had Armagh's second point of the half while Stephen McBrearty added two quick points as the game fizzled out to its inevitable conclusion.
It was a good display from Donegal but it was against a very poor Armagh side.
DONEGAL: Mark A McGinley; Eoghan Bán Gallagher, Stephen McMenamin, Caolan Ward; Tony McClenaghan, Eamonn Doherty, Paul Brennan; Nathan Mullins (0-2), Jason McGee; Martin O'Reilly, Ciaran Thompson (0-1), Caolan McGonagle; Darach O'Connor (0-3,1f), Patrick McBrearty (0-8,3f), Leo McLoone. Subs., Niall O'Donnell (0-3) for McClenaghan 34; Ciaran McGinley for McMenamin ht; Stephen McBrearty (0-3) for Thompson 41; Kevin McBrearty for J McGee 55; Daire O'Baoill for O'Reilly 65; Brendan McCole for P McBrearty 67
ARMAGH: Patrick Morrison; James McAlinden, Oisin Lappin, James Cosgrove; Joe McElroy, Ryan Kennedy, Darren McKenna; Aaron Findon, Stephen Sheridan (0-1); Ronan Lappin, Anthony Duffy, Conor White (0-1); Michael Stevenson (0-3,1'45'), Eamon McGeown (1-3), Oisín Mac Iomháir (0-1). Subs: Ryan Owens and Ross McQuillan for Sheridan and Cosgrove ht; Cahair McGeary and Edward English (0-1) for McKenna and White 51; Daniel McQuaid for Lappin 53, Simon McCoy for MacImohar 61.
REFEREE: Niall McKenna (Monaghan)