McBrearty’s spree earn Donegal under21s Ulster final spot
DONEGAL 0-15 ARMAGH 0-10
Paddy McBrearty inspired Donegal to a place in the Ulster Under-21 football final with an eight-point haul at Kingspan Breffni Park last night.
McBrearty’s class shone throughout as he produced some delightful scores to set up a meeting with holders Cavan in next week’s decider.
Ryan McHugh almost caught Armagh cold inside the opening 20 seconds, breaking clear with just goalkeeper David O’Hagan to beat, but he blazed over the bar.
McBrearty converted a free to regain the lead, after Micheál McKenna had opened the Orchard account.
Armagh wing back Joe McElroy overlapped to rifle over a point, and Ciarán O’Hanlon scored from long range, and the sides were tied on 0-3 each after 10 minutes.
Narrowed the gap
Armagh, went 14 minutes without a score, but narrowed the gap back to three with a Paul McGeown free to go in at the break trailing by 0-7 to 0-4.
Armagh’s graft and grit helped them get on top for a spell, and they made use of their best phase of the game, hitting three in a row, the best of them from McKenna. Their lead cut to a flimsy two, Donegal responded with scores from wing back Martin O’Reilly and McHugh.
And they had a potent weapon on McBrearty, who was able to turn a half chance into a score, his sixth providing his side with a six-point cushion.
And he nailed two more to kill off the challenge of an Armagh side that finished with 14 men following midfielder Aaron Findon’s second booking.
DONEGAl : J Coll, C Brennan, C Parke, A McCloskey, M O’Reilly (0-2), R McHugh (0-3, two frees) , G Gallagher, H McFadden, C Thompson (0-1) , D Mulgrew, W Gillespie, E Doherty, J O’Malley, P McBrearty (0-8, four frees) , E McHugh. Subs: D O’Connor (0-1) for O’Malley (49 mins), B McNelis for Thompson (57 mins), B Griffin for Gillespie (61 mins).
ARMAGH : D O’Hagan, D O’Neill, S Kelly, C McCooey, D O’Hagan, M Murphy, J McElroy (0-1) , A Findon, B Malone, P McGeown (0-2, two frees), M McKenna (0-2, frees), C Cumiskey (0-2, frees) , E English, C O’Hanlon (0-3), J Hall. Subs : C Hoey for Murphy (37 mins), C McKenna for Hall (41 mins), P Crilly for O’Hagan (49 mins), F Burns for McCooey (49 mins), J Grugan for English (53 mins), M Carson for Carson (56 mins).
Referee : R Barry (Down).