Donegal’s bid for back to back Ulster U-16 Buncrana Cup titles ended in disappointment this afternoon against Derry in the final in Buncrana.
Derry ……….. 1-7
In what was a low scoring defensive encounter, Derry were the slicker outfit on the day and were not at all flattered by their three point winning margin.
Donegal played with whatever advantage came off a strong diagonal wind in the first half but set up defensive with at times two sweepers and big numbers behind the ball.
Derry, who won their last Buncrana Cup in 2010, took full advantage and pressed Donegal high up and really penned them back in the opening 20 minutes.
Donegal really struggled to get out of their own half in that period and a wayward Blake McGarvey free on 15 minutes was their first shot on the Derry posts.
But with the Donegal packed defence and in particular Cian Mulligan, Tiarnan McBride, Oisin McDaid, Kyle Murray and sweeper Oisin Crawford working their socks off, Derry, despite their dominance, struggled for scores.
The winners had to wait until the 19th minute for their second point. Captain Mark Dohherty clipped over a fine point to open up a 0-2 to 0-0 lead.
Blake McGarvey opened the Donegal account one minute later when he knocked over from just inside the ‘45’.
Derry had a good spell in the middle of the second quarter and led by three points, 0-5 to 0-2, at half time, thanks to points from Matthew Downey - son of 1993 All-Ireland captain Henry Downey - Mark Doherty, Raymond Dillon, Donnacha Gilmore and Charlie Diamond.
Blake McGarvey and Cian Rooney scored the first half Donegal points. .
The tie was really settled in the opening minutes of the second half when corner-forward Darragh Wade got the slightest of flicks to a Raymond Dillon strike that dropped short.
The goal on 33 minutes opened up a six point lead as Derry led 1-6 to 0-3.
And when Jody McDermott stroked over shortly after the lead was out to seven points.
But amazingly the winners lost their shooting boots in the swirling wind.
And Donegal through Kyle Murray and Caolan McClintock did pull two back but Derry were still two ahead on the hour mark.
Donegal did mount a late charge but all they had to show for it was two Blake McGarvey injury time frees. .
It was a disappointing performance from Donegal who went into the final on the back of good wins over Fermanagh, Tyrone and Cavan.
DONEGAL: Shea McBride; Cian Mulligan, Tiernan McBride, Oisin McDaid; Cian McEntee, Kyle Murray (0-1), Eoghan McLaughlin; Drew McKinney, Stephen McFadden; Cian McMonagle, Christopher Mulligan, Blake McGarvey |0-3,2f); Caolan McClintock (0-2), Cian Rooney 0-1), Oisin Crawford. Subs: David Boyle for C Mulligan h/t; Sean Quinn for McFadden 49, Oisin O’Neill for O Crawford 54; Sean Quinn for McFadden 49.
DERRY: Ben O'Kane; Luke McCann, Sean Deehan, Adam McGonigle; Mark Doherty (0-1), Conor Shiels, Lee Bradley; Patrick O'Kane, Donncha Gilmore (0-1); Raymond Dillon (0-1), Jody McDermott (0-1), Calum Downey; Charlie Diamond (0-1), Matthew Downey (0-2,2f), Darragh Wade (1-0). Subs: Peter McCullagh for R Dillon 48, Karl Dohetry for D Wade 60.
REFEREE: Enda Mallon (Armagh).