Corks' Paul Kerrigan concedes a free surrounded by Donegal players. INPHO/James Crombie.

As It Happened: Cork v Donegal, All-Ireland SFC semi-final

It was Gaelic Football action all the way today with Cork and Donegal met in an eagerly-awaited showdown. Here’s how it unfolded.

It was Cork against Donegal in the first of this year’s All-Ireland SFC semi-finals today with throw-in at 3.30pm.

We were keeping an eye on all the action from Croke Park.

Send us your thoughts and comments on today’s action. E-mail, tweet us@thescore_iefind us on Facebook, or leave a comment below.

RESULT: Donegal 0-16 Cork 1-11

Welcome to Croke Park as we get set for the clash of Cork and Donegal in the first of this year’s All-Ireland senior football semi-finals. The minor match has finished and we’re awaiting the teams arrivals to being their warm-ups.

Here’s all you need to know about today’s game.

There’s a lot of speculation that there will be changes in the Cork team with Pearse O’Neill, Daniel Goulding, Ciaran Sheehan and Jamie O’Sullivan being touted for inclusion. There is likely to be alterations from the side announced during the week.

We’ll have the confirmed side when we get it but first of all here’s the Donegal line-up. Neil Gallagher comes in for Martin McElhinney in the only change to the team that defeated Kerry.

DONEGAL: Paul Durcan (Four Masters); Paddy McGrath (Ardara), Neil McGee (Gweedore), Frank McGlynn (Glenfin); Eamonn McGee (Gweedore), Karl Lacey (Four Masters), Anthony Thompson (Naomh Conaill); Neil Gallagher (Glenswilly), Rory Kavanagh (St Eunan’s); Ryan Bradley (Buncrana), Leo McLoone (Naomh Conaill), Mark McHugh (Kilcar); Patrick McBrearty (Kilcar), Michael Murphy (Glenswilly), Colm McFadden (St Michael’s).

The two teams have just come out onto the field and are in the middle of their warm-ups. There was a noticeable difference in the crowd reactions with Donegal clearly outnumbering Cork in the supporter stakes and that has been noticeable from early morning around Dublin.

Here are the Cork substitutes as per the match programme but some of these players may yet start.

CORK: 16. Ken O’Halloran (Bishopstown), 17. Eoin Cotter (Douglas), 18. Jamie O’Sullivan (Bishopstown), 19. Daniel Goulding (Éire Óg), 20. Pearse O’Neill (Aghada), 21. Ciaran Sheehan (Éire Óg), 22. Mark Collins (Castlehaven), 23. Denis O’Sullivan (Ballinascarthy), 24. Liam Shorten (Ballingeary), 25. Barry O’Driscoll (Nemo Rangers), 26. James Fitzpatrick (Carbery Rangers), 27. Sean Kiely (Macroom).

And here is the list of Donegal substitutes.

DONEGAL: 16. Michael Boyle (Termon), 17. Martin McElhinney (St Michael’s), 18. Marty Boyle (Naomh Conaill), 19. David Walsh (St Brigid’s), 20. Christy Toye (St Michael’s), 21. Stephen Griffin (St Naul’s), 22. Daniel McLaughlin (St Michael’s), 23. Martin O’Reilly (MacCumhaill’s), 24. Dermot Molloy (Naomh Conaill), 25. Declan Walsh (Malin), 26. Adrian Hanlon (Dungloe).

It’s going to fascinating to see hot this tactical battle unfolds, particularly how Cork cope with Donegal’s defensive system. Will they go man to man on Mark McHugh or allow him to act as a sweeper?’s football analyst and former Down All-Ireland winner Conor Deegan feels this is a key issue. You can read his pre-match thoughts here.

The Cork team has just been announced over the public address. The changes are Daniel Goulding and Ciaran Sheehan in for Ray Carey and Nicholas Murphy.

This is how Cork will line up.

CORK SF: 1. Alan Quirke (Valley Rovers); 7. Noel O’Leary (Cill na Martra), 3. Michael Shields (St Finbars), 4. Eoin Cadogan (Douglas); 5. Paudie Kissane (Clyda Rovers), 6. Graham Canty (Bantry Blues), 10. Fintan Goold (Macroom); 8. Alan O’Connor (St. Colum’s), 9. Aidan Walsh (Kanturk); 21. Ciaran Sheehan (Éire Óg), 11. Patrick Kelly (Ballincollig), 12. Paul Kerrigan (Nemo Rangers); 13. Colm O Neill (Ballyclough), 14. Donncha O’Connor (Ballydesmond), 19. Daniel Goulding (Éire Óg).

That means Fintan Goold is named at wing-back but likely to be detailed to follow Mark McHugh. Brilliant atmosphere here, the teams are currently marching around the pitch behind the Artane Boys Band.

The national anthem has been sung and we’re set to go.

Paul Kerrigan and Donncha O’Connor have swapped positions in the Cork attack. Fintan Goold is marking Mark McHugh.

Tight and tense stuff so far, Cork have most of the early possession.

Donegal 0-1 Cork 0-0: 2 mins – First blood to the Ulster champions. Michael Murphy points a close-range free after he was fouled by Eoin Cadogan.

Bad wide for Donegal from Rory Kavanagh in a good scoring position.

And Fintan Goold also misses from a good scoring position for Cork, who are playing into the Hill 16 goal.

Donegal 0-1 Cork 0-1: 6 mins – Cork draw level through Paul Kerrigan after excellent support running creates the chance.

Cork 0-2 Donegal 0-1: 8 mins – Cork move ahead through Patrick Kelly, now marking Mark McHugh, as he curls over a shot from the left-hand side of the goal.

Cork 0-2 Donegal 0-2: 9 mins – The teams are level as Colm McFadden converts a free after Patrick McBrearty displays brilliant ball-carrying abilities and skill to make headway before he is hauled down.

Donegal 0-3 Cork 0-2: 11 mins – Donegal edge in front with McFadden scoring their first point from play after Michael Murphy caught a long ball and offloaded. Cork felt they should have been awarded a free at the other end for a foul on Fintan Goold.

Cork 0-3 Donegal 0-3: 13 mins – Again the teams are tied on the scoreboard with Cork’s Daniel Goulding notching a point from a free after Donncha O’Connor is fouled.

Patrick Kelly strikes a wide for Cork as they probed the Donegal defence for an opening.

Donegal 0-4 Cork 0-4: 19 mins – Michael Murphy nudges Donegal in front after Noel O’Leary fouled Patrick McBrearty and a free was awarded. But Cork respond instantly with Ciaran Sheehan fisting the ball between the posts to draw level.

Good chance for Cork to move ahead as they counter-attack at speed after a brilliant turnover by Paudie Kissane on Leo McLoone but Colm O’Neill is off target.

Ciaran Sheehan wide with another scoring chance for Cork.

Donegal 0-5 Cork 0-5: 24 mins – Rory Kavanagh bursts onto the ball after a loose pass by Eoin Cadogan and fires over a shot to send Donegal into the lead. But again Cork’s response is quick and decisive with Colm O’Neill striking his first point and becoming the fifth Cork forward to raise a white flag in this game.

It’s been a really absorbing contest so far.

Cork 0-6 Donegal 0-6: 27 mins – Cork hit the front. A brilliant run by Paul Kerrigan, assured decision-making by Daniel Goulding and a superb right-foot shot by Colm O’Neill secures the point. However Donegal bounce back immediately with a neat score by Karl Lacey.

Cork 0-7 Donegal 0-6: 28 mins – That’s an excellent point by Ciaran Sheehan, his second of the game. He was at the heart of the move originally in collecting a short free from Michael Shields and finished off the move when Donncha O’Connor transferred the ball to him. Donegal substitution sees David Walsh in for Ryan Bradley.

Cork 0-7 Donegal 0-7: 31 mins – And Walsh makes an immediate impact for Donegal as he taps over a point.

Donegal 0-8 Cork 0-7: 34 mins – Donegal edge ahead after great play by Leo McLoone and Karl Lacey culminates in Mark McHugh fisting over a point.

HALF-TIME: Donegal 0-8 Cork 0-7: That’s how the half finishes with Donegal just in front but Michael Murphy spurned a chance to send them two points clear just on the stroke of half-time. A fascinating battle so far and it’s as tightly contested as we imagined. We’ll be back shortly with the second-half action but before that here are the first-half scorers.

DONEGAL: Michael Murphy (0-2f), Colm McFadden (0-1f) 0-2 each, Karl Lacey, Rory Kavanagh, Mark McHugh, David Walsh 0-1 each.
CORK: Ciaran Sheehan, Colm O’Neill 0-2 each, Patrick Kelly, Paul Kerrigan, Daniel Goulding (0-1f) 0-1 each.

Pearse O’Neill is onto the Cork team for the second-half instead of Fintan Goold.

The attendance has been confirmed as 55,169. I suspect over 40,000 of those fans are from Donegal.

Pearse O’Neill looks like he will start at centre-forward with Patrick Kelly nominally a half-back. Cork are out on the field and now Donegal are back out for the second half.

Early second-half wide for Cork from Graham Canty.

Yellow card for Donegal’s Colm McFadden after a high tackle on Canty. Paul Kerrigan snatches at a scoring chance and kicks another Cork wide.

Donegal 0-9 Cork 0-7: 39 mins – Superb left-footed point by Colm McFadden from distance stretches Donegal’s lead to two points. Cork’s Aidan Walsh has just been booked for an earlier challenge on David Walsh.

Donegal 0-10 Cork 0-7: 41 mins – That’s an inspirational point for Donegal as Frank McGlynn picks up a wayward pass by Aidan Walsh, charges forward and scores off his left.

Donegal 0-11 Cork 0-7: 43 mins – What a start to the second-half by Donegal. Karl Lacey kicks a point, their third without reply and they are four ahead. Their supporters are in full voice here in Croke Park.

Donegal 0-12 Cork 0-8: 44 mins – A vital point for Cork through Aidan Walsh as he splits the posts from distance. They badly needed that score. But Donegal reply when Anthony Thompson scores a point after Rory Kavanagh nearly found the net but for a superb dispossession by Michael Shields.

Huge goal chance for Cork but Colm O’Neill’s well-struck shot off his right hits the bar. That could be pivotal.

Donegal 0-12 Cork 0-9: 48 mins – Cork are hanging in there with Ciaran Sheehan swinging over a lovely point. Denis O’Sullivan is on for the Rebels instead of Alan O’Connor.

Donegal 0-13 Cork 0-9: 51 mins – Colm McFadden extends Donegal’s lead with a free after Michael Murphy was fouled.

Colm McFadden and Patrick McBrearty both waste chances to stretch Donegal’s advantage.

Donegal 0-14 Cork 0-9: 54 mins – That’s an outstanding free by Michael Murphy, lashed over the bar from 50 yards. Donegal look to be in control here.

Nicholas Murphy comes into the Cork team for Donncha O’Connor.

Donegal 0-14 Cork 0-10: 56 mins – Excellent point by Paul Kerrigan from 45 yards for Cork cuts the deficit.

Donegal 0-15 Cork 0-10: 58 mins – Donegal are back in front by five points with Colm McFadden doing brilliantly to convert a ’45. Martin McElhinney is on for the Ulster champions for Rory Kavanagh.

It looks like Cork will need a goal to haul Donegal back now. That Colm O’Neill shot that hit the bar was their best opportunity and could have a major bearing on this match.

Donegal are not confirming their superiority with Martin McElhinney and Anthony Thompson both wasting good opportunities to score.

Donegal 0-15 Cork 0-11: 65 mins – Is there hope for Cork yet? Colm O’Neill points to trim the margin to four.

Nicholas Murphy is booked for Cork.

Donegal 0-16 Cork 0-11: 67 mins – Are Donegal getting set for their first All-Ireland final appearance since 1992? A point by Martin McElhinney suggests they may be as he converts off his right.

Declan Walsh is on the Donegal team for Frank McGlynn.

Three minutes of additional time but Donegal look set to hold on.

Donegal 0-16 Cork 1-11: 72 mins – Goal for Cork! Colm O’Neill finds the net but it may be too late.

Christy Toye and Daniel McLaughlin are on the Donegal team for Patrick McBrearty and Colm McFadden.

FULL-TIME: Donegal 0-16 Cork 1-11: Donegal hold on and qualify for their first All-Ireland senior football final since 1992. Huge scenes of celebration here in Croke Park.

That’s all from us, thanks for joining, we’ll be back later with all the reaction and analysis.

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