Dublin: 3°C Saturday 27 November 2021

14-man Donegal cruise to victory against Down to book Ulster final spot

Declan Bonner’s side secured a 13 point win and will now face Fermanagh in the Ulster SFC final.

Jamie Brennan celebrates scoring a goal for Donegal.
Jamie Brennan celebrates scoring a goal for Donegal.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Donegal 2-22

Down 1-12

Alan Foley reports from Clones

DONEGAL WILL TAKE on Fermanagh in a novel Ulster final pairing in two weeks’ time after Declan Bonner’s team cruised to victory against Down in Clones.

Despite losing Neil McGee to a straight red card after just 14 minutes, Donegal were in complete control, racking up 1-4 before Down finally got on the scoreboard after 26 minutes. In the second half, Donegal posted 1-8 before Down managed a score.

Leo McLoone and man of the match Jamie Brennan were the goalscorers, while Michael Murphy struck over 0-5 and Patrick McBrearty 0-6.

It all means Donegal will go in search of a ninth Ulster title as overwhelming favourites, with Bonner’s predecessor, Rory Gallagher, in charge of the Fermanagh.

Neil McGee is shown a red card by referee Anthony Nolan Donegal’s Neil McGee is shown a red card by referee Anthony Nolan. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

McGee and Connaire Harrison had been booked in the early stages for an off-the-ball incident by match referee Anthony Nolan. Then, with Donegal 0-4 to 0-0 up, Harrison and his own teammate Darren O’Hagan collided with one another and McGee fell on top of the Down full-forward, leading with his knee.

Nolan, who consulted with linesman Sean Laverty opted to send off the Donegal full-back.

However, the dismissal did little for Down, with Donegal on fire. Their first goal arrived on 22 minutes when McLoone was quickest to react to slot past Marc Reid as a shot for a point by Ciaran Thompson cannoned down off the upright.

Donegal were 1-12 to 0-7 in front at the break, with Down certainly improving in the last 10 minutes of the half, with Harrison causing occasional trouble.

Eoghan Ban Gallagher with Kevin McKernan Donegal’s Eoghan Ban Gallagher and Down's Kevin McKernan. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The second half started as the first did, with a Donegal blitz. On 45 minutes, Murphy gathered a clearance from Reid, who was struggling badly with kick-outs, and a move that saw Thompson and Ryan McHugh involved, saw Brennan tap home a second goal for a 2-15 to 0-7 advantage.

Donegal really should’ve added a third goal on a number of occasions, with Brennan coming the closest, hitting the butt of the post and if anything they were guilty of overplaying against a totally bewildered Down side.

Eamonn Burns’ team did at least get the consolation of a goal in the fifth minute of injury time when Niall Donnelly cut inside to shoot past Shaun Patton.

Donegal: Shaun Patton; Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Eoghan Ban Gallagher; Caolan Ward (0-1), Paul Brennan (0-2), Frank McGlynn; Hugh McFadden, Michael Murphy (0-5, 3f); Ciaran Thompson (0-1), Ryan McHugh (0-2), Leo McLoone (1-0); Patrick McBrearty (0-6, 3f), Michael Langan, Jamie Brennan (1-3).

Subs: Daire Ó Baoill for Langan (44), Odhrán Mac Niallais for McLoone (49), Cian Mulligan for Thompson (49), Stephen McMenamin (0-1) for Gallagher (54), Mark McHugh (0-1) for McGlynn (58), Eamonn Doherty for P.Brennan (65).

Down: Marc Reid; Colm Flanagan, Brendan McArdle, Anthony Doherty; Darren O’Hagan, Niall McParland, Caolan Mooney (0-1); Peter Turley, Niall Donnelly (1-1); Kevin McKernan, Conor Maginn (0-2), Shay Millar; Donal O’Hare (0-4, 3f), Connaire Harrison (0-4), Ronan Millar.

Subs: Ryan Johnston for R Millar (black card, 21), Ruairi Wells for McParland (half-time), Sean Dornan for S.Millar (black card, 36), Conor Poland for Doherty (49), David McKibben for Turley (55), Jonny Flynn for McKibben (black card, 66).

Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!

Explainer: Where the Munster hurling championship stands after today’s games

Cluxton off injured while McCaffrey and O’Sullivan return as Dublin crush Longford

About the author:

Alan Foley

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel