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Donegal decide to play (a bit) in the second half, do enough to seal place in Ulster SFC semis

Leo McLoone’s goal proved to be the difference between Donegal and Derry at Celtic Park.

Donegal keeper Paul Durcan celebrates with Michael Murphy at the final whistle.
Donegal keeper Paul Durcan celebrates with Michael Murphy at the final whistle.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Derry 0-11

Donegal 1-11

DONEGAL DELIVERED A second-half blitz to topple Derry and clinch a place in the Ulster SFC semi-finals.

In a dour and defensive game that will quickly be forgotten, Leo McLoone’s goal four minutes after the restart tipped the balance in favour of Jim McGuinness’s men.

His fine finish sparked a game-changing run which saw Donegal put up 1-5 without reply by the time Derry got their first score of the second half in the 50th minute.

By that stage the two-point lead which Derry held at the break, 0-6 to 0-4, had quickly been wiped and Donegal were on their way to a meeting against either Fermanagh or Antrim on 22 June.

For Derry, it’s another year in which they have failed to carry their promising league form over to the Championship.

After a dull first half dominated by handpassing, blanket defence and wasteful shooting, this game became a little bit more lively in the second.

Donegal captain Michael Murphy, who played most of the opening period in a deeper midfield role, reverted to the full-forwards where he was far more effective. He had an important hand in McLoone’s goal and finished with four points (three frees).

A free from Mark Lynch, and points from Benny Heron and Emmett Bradley brought Derry back to within a goal as the game entered the final 10 minutes.

But they could never close the gap and points from sub Martin McElhinney and McLoone secured Donegal’s progress, showing the Oak Leaf towards the back door.

Scorers for Derry: Lynch 0-4 (3f), E Bradley 0-3 (2f), Herron 0-2 (1 45′), Holly, McFaul 0-1 each.

Scorers for Donegal: McLoone 1-1, Murphy 0-4 (3f), O’Connor, Toye, Lacey, Thompson, McBrearty, McElhinney 0-1 each


1. Thomas Mallon
2. Dermot McBride
3. Gareth McKinless
4. Chrissy McKaigue
5. Kevin Johnson
6. Mark Lynch (capt)
7. Gerard O’Kane
8. Fergal Doherty
9. Patsy Bradley
10. Ciarán McFaul
11. Sean Leo McGoldrick
12. Enda Lynn
14. Emmett McGuckin
15. Cailean O’Boyle
24. Emmett Bradley

Substitutes: Ryan Bell for O’Boyle (43), Benny Heron for Holly (48), Oisin Duffy for Johnson (58), James Kielt for E McGuckin (60), Ciaran McGoldrick for E Bradley (67).


1. Paul Durcan
2. Éamonn Mc Gee
3. Neil McGee
4. Karl Lacey
5. Frank McGlynn
6. Leo McLoone
7. Anthony Thompson
10. Christy Toye
11. Ryan McHugh
12. Odhrán Mac Niallais
13 Patrick McBrearty
14. Michael Murphy
15. Colm McFadden
19. Paddy McGrath
23. Darach O’Connor

Substitutes: Martin McElhinney for Toye (HT), Neil Gallagher for O’Connor (43),Luke Keaney for McBrearty (65), Dermot Molloy for McFadden (67).

Donegal minors see off Derry to reach semi-final

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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