Coulter seals victory for Down

 

Donegal 2-10 Down 1-15:A Benny Coulter goal in extra time ensured Down’s win over Donegal in today’s Ulster SFC quarter-final in Ballybofey. The Mourne men will now take on Tyrone in the semi-final.

Down trailed for large parts of the match after Dermot Molly and Conal Dunne fired home goals for Donegal in the opening 20 minutes and eventually went into the break 2-03 to 0-07 ahead.

Down came out with greater purpose in the second half with Coulter leading the line well. They took the lead in the dying minutes before Donegal’s Rory Kavanagh brought the game into extra time as both side were tied 2-07 to 0-13 at full time.

Donegal had little left in the tank in extra time and their fate was sealed when man-of-the-match Coulter picked up the ball to side-foot home the crucial goal four minutes from time to set up a last four clash with Tyrone on June 19th.

Debutant Molloy could easily have been sent off in the seventh minute when he appeared to elbow Daniel Hughes. Minutes later he scored the opening goal after Michael Murphy out-jumped Brendan McArdle and James Colgan in the Down defence to set up Molloy.

Coulter, John Clarke and Mark Poland kept the scoreboard ticking over for Down but they were stunned by Donegal’s second goal on 20 minutes.

Molloy’s initial effort came off the woodwork but fell neatly for Dunne, who made no mistake and fired past Brendan McVeigh in the Down goal.

Martin Clarke made his championship debut for Down and got on the scoresheet with a long range free immediately after Dunne’s goal.

In the second period Clark and Hughes reduced the gap to one before Coulter leveled the game on the hour mark.

Paul Durcan produced a wonderful reflex save to deflect a Dan Gordon fisted effort.

Coulter then fired over a long 50 metre point and Clarke kept his composure to convert a 45 that looked likely to be the winner.

However Donegal quickly moved the ball upfield and Kavanagh levelled at the death.

In extra time Down went two ahead in the ninth minute when Hughes took his point instead of aiming for goal.

Mark McHugh responded for Donegal then Colm McFadden leveled.

But Down seized their opportunity when Neil Gallagher lost possession in midfield only for the ball to be moved to Coulter who netted the crucial goal from close range.

Eoin Waide scored for Donegal but it was too little to late as Down progress.

Results

Leinster SHC Quarter-finals
Antrim 3-16 Offaly 2-26
Wexford 1-14 Galway 2-22

Munster SHC Quarter-final
Tipperary 0-14 Cork 3-15

Ulster SHC Quarter-finals
Derry 0-15 London 2-12
Down 4-24 Armagh 0-09

Connacht SFC Preliminary Round
London 0-06 Roscommon 0-14

Ulster SFC Quarter-final
Donegal 2-10 Down 1-15