Fintan O’Toole reports from Croke Park
A SCORING MASTERCLASS by Patrick McBrearty inspired Donegal to a battling win over Cork in their Round 4B qualifier tie this afternoon and sets up a quarter-final showdown with Dublin next Saturday.
McBrearty bagged 0-11 – seven of those from play – and was terrific as he produced an attacking display that Cork could not cope with.
Cork only scored a single point after the 52nd minute of the game and that was a Colm O’Neill score deep in injury-time. That scoring drought proved their downfall in a game where they had began superbly and were in front 1-9 to 0-11 at the interval.
Cork’s goal arrived in the 17th minute, a strike that crowned their bright start to the game. It stemmed from a great turnover by Kevin O’Driscoll in defence, a hard-earned free won by Ian Maguire and a rampaging run by Tomás Clancy.
When the ball fell into the arms of captain Paul Kerrigan, he stepped inside at the Hill 16 end and unleashed a thunderbolt to the top corner. That strike pushed Cork ahead 1-6 to 0-4 and it reflected the good work they had done.
They had six different point scorers in that time frame – Kerrigan, Kevin and Colm O’Driscoll, Sean Powter, Donncha O’Connor and Tom Clancy (Clonakilty) – and their points came from a series of pacy moves as they found large corridors of space in the Donegal rearguard.
In contrast Donegal were reliant on McBrearty for inspiration as he kicked their entire total of four points in the opening quarter. In the second quarter, Donegal gave McBrearty more support and he also continued to torment the Cork rearguard with 0-7 to his name by the 28th minute.
Still Cork went in at half-time with a narrow advantage thanks to Donncha O’Connor’s curling point on the cusp of the interval. He played a one-two from a sideline for that score with Aidan Walsh, drafted in late in the first-half for the injured Alan O’Connor.
Cork would have been pleased with that position at the midway mark and it could have been more favourable only for Neil McGee’s brave block to deny Ian Maguire from netting in the 34th minute for what would have been his second goal in as many qualifier games.
Donegal got to grips with Cork’s attacking game in the second-half, only shipping 0-6 and only a single point after the 52nd minute of the game. The teams were still evenly matched on the scoreboard in the third quarter as they traded points.
But Cork looked to have made a decisive burst when Tomás Clancy (Fermoy) and substitute Colm O’Neill from a free pushed them in front 1-14 to 0-15 with 18 minutes of normal time remaining.
That was as good as it got for them. Donegal wiped out that lead thanks to scores from McBrearty and Eoin McHugh before frees from McBrearty and Michael Murphy nudged Rory Gallagher’s men ahead by two with five minutes left.
Their solid defensive structure frustrated Cork thereafter. The grace notes were added to this Donegal success with splendid points from Ryan McHugh and McBrearty in injury-time.
Scorers for Donegal: Patrick McBrearty 0-11 (0-4f), Ryan McHugh 0-3, Eoin McHugh, Michael Murphy (0-1f) 0-2 each, Karl Lacey, Frank McGlynn, Odhrán MacNiallais 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork: Paul Kerrigan 1-1, Colm O’Driscoll, Tom Clancy (Clonakilty), Kevin O’Driscoll, Colm O’Neill (0-1f), Donncha O’Connor 0-2 each, Mark Collins, Tomás Clancy (Fermoy), Seán Powter, Aidan Walsh 0-1 each.
1. Mark Anthony McGinley (St Michael’s)
2. Paddy McGrath (Ardara)
17. Eamonn McGee (Gaoth Dobhair)
3. Neil McGee (Gaoth Dobhair)
6. Karl Lacey (St Eunan’s)
15. Martin O’Reilly (Sean Mac Cumhaill)
7. Frank McGlynn (Glenfin)
8. Rory Kavanagh (St Eunan’s)
11. Odhrán Mac Niallais (Gaoth Dobhair)
5. Ryan McHugh (Kilcar)
10. Anthony Thompson (Naomh Conaill)
12. Eoin McHugh (Kilcar)
13. Patrick McBrearty (Kilcar)
14. Michael Murphy (Glenswilly)
9. Martin McElhinney (St Michael’s)
4. Ciaran Gillespie (Gaoth Dobhair) for Eamonn McGee (43)
19. Leo McLoone (Naomh Conaill) for Kavanagh (45)
18. Christy Toye (St Michael’s) for Thompson (55)
23. Mark McHugh (Kilcar) for McGlynn (61)
21. Eamonn Doherty (St Eunan’s) for Neil McGee (68)
1. Ryan Price (O’Donovan Rossa)
4. Stephen Cronin (Nemo Rangers)
3. Eoin Cadogan (Douglas)
18. Tom Clancy (Clonakilty)
2. Colm O Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh)
25. Sean Powter (Douglas)
5. Tomás Clancy (Fermoy)
8. Alan O Connor (St Colum’s)
9. Ian Maguire (St Finbarr’s)
7. Kevin O Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh)
12. Mark Collins (Castlehaven)
15. Michael Hurley (Castlehaven)
23. Donncha O’Connor (Ballydesmond)
14. Peter Kelleher (Kilmichael)
10. Paul Kerrigan (Nemo Rangers)
26. Aidan Walsh (Kanturk) for Alan O’Connor (inj) (34)
11. Patrick Kelly (Ballincollig) for Kelleher (42)
13. Colm O Neill (Ballyclough) for Donncha O’Connor (47)
6. Brian O Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh) for Tom Clancy (Clonakilty) (inj) (48)
24. John O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers) for Kevin O’Driscoll (62)
17. Alan Cadogan (Douglas) for Powter (68)
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