Rampant Donegal sink champions to net semi-final spot

Ulster SFC quarter-final

Donegal 4-11 Derry 0-17

By Michael McMullan

DONEGAL bagged four goals to dump champions Derry out of the race to win a third successive Ulster title on Saturday night at Celtic Park.

On a night when the home side were wasteful and unable to engineer a clear goal chance, Donegal’s four goals – all at crucial times – shot them to semi-final spot next Sunday.

Donegal hoovered up the majority of possession and had Ryan McHugh running the show with his runs.

The story of the game was Derry’s aggressive kick-out press on Shaun Patton that became their Achilles Heel.

Patton (twice) and later Gavin Mulreaney boomed the ball over midfield for Dáire Ó Baoill and Jamie Brennan to bag goals.

There was controversy surrounding Donegal’s third goal when Chrissy McKaigue fouled Shane O’Donnell outside the box. Referee David Gough awarded a penalty and Oisín Gallen slid to the net for a seven-point lead.

That said, the sheer hunger, positioning in the middle third and pace on the run were the reasons for Donegal’s deserving win.

It was Derry who sparked early with Ethan Doherty kicking the first of three first half points.

Ryan McHugh tortured Derry in the same way Ethan Doherty to them. He passed to Caolan McGonagle for a goal chance deflected by Paudi McGrogan for a 45 Oisín Gallen nailed.

Conor Doherty replied before McHugh curled over and it was Ó Baoill who levelled matters (0-3 all) after Niall O’Donnell forced a turnover after 12 minutes.

It was McHugh who made the goal for Ó Baoill. With Derry pushed up and Lynch out, the Gaoth Dobhair lobbed for a 1-4 to 0-3 lead.

Derry brought on both Niall Toner and Gareth McKinless but it was Donegal who stayed on top with McGuigan starved of possession.

The visitors were ravenous on the breaks in the middle third with Mogan getting forward to score.

Two Ethan Doherty points and a fisted score from McKaigue helped settle Derry. It was a McFaul pass to Rogers that made Derry’s final score of the half, as they trailed 1-7 to 0-9.

Donegal won the throw-in and kept possession but it was Eoin McEvoy with a wide.

From the kick-out, Patton put Donegal on the front foot via the hand Niall O’Donnell and it was Dáire Ó Baoill who lobbed Lynch for a second goal, another major blow after 39 minutes.

Niall O’Donnell added a Donegal score after a kick-out long to Jason McGee only for Rogers to respond at the other end for an acute angle.

There was another boost for Donegal with Gallen’s penalty for a 3-8 to 0-10 lead.

Shuan Patton was forced off injured after first half knock and it was Gavin Mulreaney’s long kick over the top that put Jamie Brennan through for the fourth goal that poured water on any chances of a Derry comeback.

Donegal: S Patton; M Curran, B McCole, C Moore (0-1); C McGonagle, R McHugh (0-2), P Mogan (0-1), S O’Donnell; J McGee,  M Langan; D Ó Baoill (2-1), C Thompson (0-1), A Doherty, O Gallen (1-3, 1-0 pen, 1f, 1 45), N O’Donnell (0-1),
Subs: G Mulreaney for S Patton (INJ 56), J Brennan (1-0) for A Doherty (58), P McBrearty for N O’Donnell (58), O Doherty for J McGee (67), K McGettigan for M Curran (69)

Black cards: N O’Donnell (48), O Doherty (72)

Derry: O Lynch; C McCluskey, C McKaigue (0-1), D Baker; C Doherty (0-1), E McEvoy, P McGrogan; C Glass, B Rogers (0-2); E Doherty (0-4), C McFaul, P Cassidy (0-2, 1m), N Loughlin, S McGuigan (0-4, 2f) L Murray (0-1)
Subs: N Toner (0-1) for N Loughlin (27), G McKinless (0-1) for P McGrogan (29), E Bradley for L Murray (51), D Gilmore for C McKaigue(58), E Mulholland for C McFaul (66)

Yellow cards: C McFaul (46), S McGuigan (67), C Doherty (70)

Attendance: 14, 714

Referee: D Gough (Meath)

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