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Dublin: 1 °C Monday 19 March, 2018

Donegal brush Armagh aside as they make it 16 Ulster championship wins from 17

It was all too easy for Rory Gallagher’s men.

Martin O'Reilly scored his first championship goal.
Martin O'Reilly scored his first championship goal.
Image: Presseye/Andrew Paton/INPHO

Donegal 2-11

Armagh 0-8

DONEGAL PRODUCED A clinical display as they made light work of Armagh to book their place in the semi-finals of the Ulster football championship.

From start to finish, Rory Gallagher’s side were in complete control at the Athletic Grounds as last year’s All-Ireland finalists provided an emphatic reminder of their credentials.

While Donegal were ruthlessly impressive, Armagh were equally disappointing as Paddy McBrearty’s early goal set the tone for what was to follow.

The hosts did put up more of a fight after the break but it was too little, too late as Donegal were content to sit a little deeper, absorb the pressure, and hit their beleaguered opponents on the break.

Donegal will now face Derry in the last four on 27 June in Clones and if we’re being honest, they never looked like slipping-up this afternoon.

Once McBrearty fired home from close range after Mattie McNeice had made a fine initial save, there was only going to be one outcome.

Eamonn McGee and Aaron Findon It was a one-sided encounter from start to finish. Source: Presseye/Andrew Paton/INPHO

Neilly Gallagher added a point shortly after as Dongeal squeezed Armagh up field and forced the error from the kick-out.

Michael Murphy then produced a kicking master-class as the two-time All Star fired over free after free, including one from all of 60 yards on the brink of half-time.

In the end, he finished with five frees to his name as Donegal recorded their 16th win in 17 championship games against Ulster opposition.

It took Armagh 13 minutes to get their first point of the board but by that juncture, Donegal had already pulled away.

Murphy was the architect of Donegal’s second goal on 45 minutes. He was given the freedom of the Athletic Grounds to power though midfield before the space opened up for Martin O’Reilly to round McNeice and slot home.

Armagh, to their credit, outscored the visitors in the second period but such was the gulf in class, Donegal were able to operate in cruise control for the remainder on-front of 18,186.

Martin O'Reilly celebrates scoring a goal O'Reilly came off the bench to find the net. Source: Presseye/Andrew Paton/INPHO

If there was one dampener for Donegal, it was the sight of McBrearty hobbling off with a hamstring injury which could put his involvement in a fortnight’s time in doubt.

Scorers for Armagh: T Kernan 0-3 (1f), C Rafferty 0-2 (1f), A Findon 0-1, C McKeever 0-1, J Morgan 0-1.

Scorers for Donegal: M Murphy 0-5 (5f), P McBrearty 1-1, M O’Reilly 1-0, O MacNiallais 0-2, N Gallagher 0-1, M McElhinney 0-1, K Lacey 0-1.


1. Matthew McNeice

2. Michael Murray
3. Charlie Vernon
4. Andy Mallon

5. James Morgan
6. Ciaran McKeever
7. Mark Shields

8. Aaron Findon
9. Ethan Rafferty

10. Caolan Rafferty
11. Michael McKenna
12. Aidan Forker

13. Kevin Dyas
14. Tony Kernan
15. Jamie Clarke


1. Paul Durcan

2. Paddy McGrath
3. Neil McGee
4. Eamonn McGee

5. Anthony Thompson
6. Karl Lacey
7. Frank McGlynn

8. Neil Gallagher
9. Martin McElhinney

10. Christy Toye
11. Odhrán MacNiallais
12. Ryan McHugh

13. Patrick McBrearty
14. Michael Murphy
15. Colm McFadden

LIVE: Kerry v Tipperary, Cork v Clare – Munster senior football semi-finals

LIVE: Kerry v Tipperary, Cork v Clare – Munster senior football semi-finals

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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