Provincial silverware was on the line in Clones, as Fermanagh looked to win a first Ulster title.
Good afternoon, and what an afternoon it is, as provincial silverware is down for decision at a gloriously sunny Clones.
Eight-time winners Donegal are back in the Ulster senior football championship final and are chasing a first title since 2014, while Fermanagh are bidding to win the crown for the first time.
The atmosphere has been building around the town all morning and St Tiernach’s Park is awash with colour. We get underway at 2pm.
TEAM NEWS: Here’s how the sides will line up this afternoon. Donegal, appearing in their seventh Ulster final in eight years, are strong favourites.
1. Patrick Cadden
2. Kane Connor
3. Che Cullen
4. Michael Jones
5. Barry Mulrone
6. James McMahon
7. Lee Cullen
8. Eoin Donnolly
9. Ryan Jones
10. Paul McCusker
11. Declan McCusker
12. Aidan Breen
13. Sean Quigley
14. Conall Jones
15. Seamus Quigley
1. Shaun Patton
2. Paddy McGrath
3. Caolan Ward
4. Eoghan Bán Gallagher
5. Frank McGlynn
6. Paul Brennan
7. Ryan McHugh
8. Hugh McFadden
9. Leo McLoone
10. Cian Mulligan
11. Michael Langan
12. Ciaran Thompson
13. Patrick McBrearty
14. Michael Murphy
15. Jamie Brennan
We’ve had the anthem, and we’re just about set for the off in Clones.
Two late changes to tell you about on the Donegal side. Stephen McMenamin and Odhran MacNiallais start in place of Caolan Ward and Cian Mulligan.
THROW-IN! We’re up and running in Clones. Can Donegal justify their favourites tag and reign supreme in Ulster again, or will it be a history-making afternoon for Fermanagh?
2 mins — Donegal 0-0 Fermanagh 0-0
A slow, tense start to proceedings in Clones. Fermanagh, as expected, have settled into their rigid defensive system early on and Donegal have been met with a wall of green shirts. We’re not going to have an expansive final, unfortunately.
7 mins — Donegal 0-0 Fermanagh 0-1
After seven tight, scoreless minutes, Fermanagh have drawn first blood after Ryan Jones was fouled by Leo McLoone. Sean Quigley makes no mistake from the free and we have our first point of the day.
8 mins — Donegal 0-1 Fermanagh 0-1
Donegal hit back straight away, and it’s a superb point from Odhrán Mac Niallais. He struck it sweetly from range off his left foot and the ball sailed over the bar. We’re level again.
There’s Arlene enjoying the football.
10 mins — Donegal 0-1 Fermanagh 0-1
After his fine point a few minutes ago (watch below), Odhrán Mac Niallais is off target with his second attempt. Ciaran Corrigan was down receiving treatment there for a minute but he’s okay to continue.
Great point by Donegal's Odhrán Mac Niallais! pic.twitter.com/Rm1fEVgsIW— The GAA (@officialgaa) June 24, 2018
13 mins — Donegal 0-1 Fermanagh 0-1
It’s been a difficult watch so far, with both sides employing defensive structures and at times the contest has been reduced to walking pace. We’ve had just two points in the opening 13 minutes, with Donegal struggling to figure a way out to break down this Fermanagh rearguard.
15 mins — Donegal 0-2 Fermanagh 0-1
A glimpse of space! And Michael Langan takes full advantage as he surges through the midfield channel and knocks it over the bar. That was better.
16 mins — GOAL! Donegal 1-2 Fermanagh 0-1
Much, much better from Donegal and they’ve hit their stride. Ryan McHugh cuts Fermanagh open down the left and he picks out the supporting Eoghan Bán Gallagher, who had got forward from corner back to palm the ball into the net.
19 mins — Donegal 1-2 Fermanagh 0-1
Donegal have settled now and they’re dominating the contest, particularly in the middle of the park. Patrick McBrearty has the chance to extend their lead but he misses from a free, but Conall Jones is also off target at the other end. It’s now 12 minutes since Fermanagh have scored.
22 mins — Donegal 1-3 Fermanagh 0-1
Eoghan Bán Gallagher follows up his goal with a point after another raiding run forward.
25 mins — Donegal 1-4 Fermanagh 0-1
Michael Murphy opens his account with a sweetly-struck free after McHugh was fouled. My word, Fermanagh are so limited.
26 mins — Donegal 1-4 Fermanagh 0-2
They’ve got their second point, at least. Quigley knocks over another free and the Fermanagh fans have something — anything — to cheer about.
27 mins — Donegal 1-5 Fermanagh 0-2
Fermanagh can’t get their hands on the ball at all and Donegal are moving it around with pace and precision. Paul Brennan dissects the posts for his first point of the day.
30 mins — GOAL! Donegal 2-5 Fermanagh 0-3
That’s a superb run and finish from Ryan McHugh as he destroys the Fermanagh blanket defence by running at the heart of it with pace and power. The Donegal man then fires it high into the net from a tight angle.
32 mins — Donegal 2-5 Fermanagh 0-5
Fermanagh have eventually realised their game plan isn’t working and have thrown a few more bodies forward. Quigley scores his third of the day and then Ciaran Corrigan registers his side’s fifth.
35 mins — Donegal 2-6 Fermanagh 0-5
Two minutes of added time at the end of the first half.
35 + 1 mins — Donegal 2-7 Fermanagh 0-5
Bit of action right at the end of the half. Mickey Jones receives a black card and then Michael Murphy points from the free to extend Donegal’s lead.
Half-time! Donegal 2-7 Fermanagh 0-5
And the referee blows the half-time whistle, with Donegal in complete control thanks to goals from Eoghan Bán Gallagher and Ryan McHugh.
“Arlene Foster can go home and tend to business. The game is over and Donegal can win by as much as they want.”
Can we all go home?
‘Arlene Foster can go home and tend to business. The game is over and Donegal can win by as much as they want’ – Colm O’Rourke isn’t giving Fermanagh much chance of a second-half comeback pic.twitter.com/YSudHcw1Bj— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) June 24, 2018
Joe Brolly has branded this game a ‘farce’. The teams are back out for the second half in Clones.
We’re back underway in Clones.
37 mins — Donegal 2-8 Fermanagh 0-5
Donegal are up and running in the second half and it’s that man Paul Brennan — excellent again today — who knocks it over.
38 mins — Donegal 2-8 Fermanagh 0-5
Fermanagh made a change at the break, by the way, with Seamus Quigley replacing Paul McCusker.
38 mins — Donegal 2-8 Fermanagh 0-5
Patrick McBrearty, who picked up that knock in the first half, is also going off to be replaced by Daire Ó Baoill
40 mins — Donegal 2-8 Fermanagh 0-6
Instant impact from Seamus Quigley as he nails a superb point off his left to reduce the deficit to eight points.
41 mins — Donegal 2-8 Fermanagh 0-6
Are Fermanagh coming back into the game? A long ball drops into the Donegal box and it’s a bit of a scramble before the referee awards a free out.
45 mins — Donegal 2-9 Fermanagh 0-7
Donegal go down the other end and the ball is in the back of the net but Paddy McGrath’s effort is ruled out because he was in the square when finishing Jamie Brennan’s square ball.
Sean Quigley has just pointed against for Fermanagh, before Ciaran Thompson responds.
51 mins — Donegal 2-10 Fermanagh 0-8
A dog is after making its way onto the pitch and has forced play to be delayed for a minute — it’s the most exciting thing that’s happened all afternoon, let’s be honest.
When play does resume, Donegal extend their advantage.
54 mins — Red card! Donegal 2-10 Fermanagh 0-9
Just as Fermanagh were beginning to ask a few questions of the Donegal defence, Ryan Jones receives his second yellow of the day for a high challenge and they’re down to 14 men.
60 mins — Donegal 2-13 Fermanagh 0-9
Ciaran Thompson adds another point to Donegal’s tally and they’re cruising in the Clones sun now.
61 mins — Donegal 2-14 Fermanagh 0-10
Paddy McGrath on the mark for Donegal after a surging run. He could have gone for goal but opted to fist it over the bar, before Ruairi Corrigan goes down the other end and adds a point for Fermanagh.
70 mins — Donegal 2-16 Fermanagh 0-12
Into injury time in Clones.
70 + 3 mins — Donegal 2-17 Fermanagh 0-12
Brilliant point from the evergreen Michael Murphy. Donegal are minutes away from a ninth Ulster SFC title.
Full-time! Donegal 2-18 Fermanagh 0-12
Donegal are the Ulster champions again, and were full deserving of their victory this afternoon as they comfortably saw off Fermanagh in Clones.
Thanks for joining us this afternoon, we’ll have a match report from Clones shortly, while you can follow live coverage of the Leinster SFC final between Dublin and Laois from Croke Park here.