McBrearty finds his range as Donegal see off Derry
Eight points from Donegal forward help ease the Tir Chonaill into Ulster semi-finals
Donegal’s Hugh McFadden celebrates his goal with Patrick McBrearty. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho
Derry 0-16 Donegal 2-16
Donegal, as expected, proved to have just a little too much in the tank running out winners over Derry in the Ulster quarter-finals. Goals from Hugh McFadden (first half) and Cian Mulligan (second half) proved to be the key scores as the Tir Chonaill defeated the Oakleafers by six points in the northwest derby. Patrick McBrearty produced his best performance of the season, hitting 0-8, including five long range monsters from play.
Following in the footsteps of their Under-20s who pummelled Cavan in the game’s curtain-raiser, Donegal impressed all over the pitch. Superbly drilled and heavily manned in defence, the winners were just as clinical in attack, not hitting their first wide of the game in the 28th minute of play.
And in goalkeeper Shaun Patton, Donegal have found a wonderful successor to Paul Durkin. Patton’s kick-outs were unerring over the 70 minutes - always finding a man in green and yellow and more often than not forming the launching pad for a Donegal score.
Donegal manager Declan Bonner will have been much the happier bainisteoir as his side ran in six points up at half-time. Bonner’s men came racing out of the blocks at a sun-kissed Celtic Park, and when Leo McLoone nonchalantly knocked over his second point of the half it handed Donegal a 0-4 to no score after eight one-sided minutes.
Mark Lynch, back in an unfamiliar sweeping role, finally opened Derry’s account in the 11th minute with a free but Donegal countered immediately and decisively to score the half’s only goal through Hugh McFadden. Ryan McHugh did all the hard work in the build up to the goal before midfielder McFadden slipped the ball below Ben McKinless.
McKinless refused to be bested a second time, however, when Ryan McHugh burst through on goal only to see his shot acrobatically stopped by the Ballinderry ‘keeper.
Lynch and Emmet Bradley returned fire for Derry to reduce their arrears to 1-4 to 0-3 before McBrearty came to the party and his rapid-fire brace helped stretch the Donegal lead to 1-7 to 0-3.
To their credit, the home battled back once more. Early balls into livewire Enda Lynn were giving Derry something to work with in attack, with the Greenlough man winning a number of frees up front. Emmet Bradley was at the heart of the mini-revival scoring the next four points himself to leave just a goal between the sides.
Stung into remedial action, Donegal tapped on the gas and hit the last three scores of the half, including another McBrearty brace, to give themselves a 1-10 to 0-7 lead at the break. Michael Murphy’s running from midfield was also causing the Derry defence all sorts of problems.
Both sides traded blows throughout an evenly contested third quarter. Emmet Bradley was outstanding for Derry finishing with figures of 0-8, three of which came from play. The big Glen man also hit the post in the 64th minute.
But Donegal were always able to keep their opponents far enough away to avoid any late Derry comeback. With McBrearty slowly coming to the boil again midway through the second half, Donegal led 1-15 to 0-13 with 10 minutes to go and Cian Mulligan’s 63rd minute goal finally snuffed out Derry’s last real hope of an upset.
The Oakleafers battled to the end, but the combination of a succession of wides and Donegal, at times pulling all 15 men behind their own ‘45 conspired to kill off the home side. The winners proceed to meet Down in the semi-final at Healy Park in a fortnight.
Derry: B McKinless, P McNeill, B Rogers, K McKaigue, K Johnston, C McKaigue, S L McGoldrick, C McAtamney, M Bateson, P Cassidy, E Bradley (0-8, 0-5 frees), P Coney, E Lynn, S McGuigan, M Lynch (0-5, 0-4 frees). Subs: L McGoldrick for S L McGoldrick (h-t), J Doherty for M Bateson (h-t), C McWilliams for B Rogers (51), N Toner (0-1) for S McGuigan (54), P Hagan for P Cassidy (60), J Kielt (0-2) for C McAtamney (60). Yellow cards: C McWilliams
Donegal: S Patton, P McGrath, N McGee, E B Gallagher, C Ward, P Brennan, R McHugh (0-2), H McFadden (1-0), L McLoone (0-3), C Thompson, M Langan, F McGlynn, P McBrearty (0-8, 0-3 frees), M Murphy (0-2, 0-1 free), J Brennan (0-1). Subs: S McMenamin for N McGee (11 mins), O MacNiallais for M Langan (h-t), C Mulligan (1-0) for P Brennan (43), C McGinley for C Thompson (49), D O Baoill for P McGrath (60), M McHugh for F McGlynn (65). Yellow cards: P Brennan, H McFadden, L McLoone
Referee: M Deegan (Laois)
First half 0-7
Second half 0-9
From Play 0-7
Frees conceded 12
Yellow cards 1
Red cards 0
Black cards 0
First half 1-10
Second half 1-06
From Play 2-12
Frees conceded 10
Yellow cards 3
Red cards 0
Black cards 0