McKenna Cup semi-finals: Donegal and Monaghan win through to decider

Monaghan win penalty shoot-out 5-4 at the Athletic Grounds

Derry’s Gareth McKinless is challenged vy  Odhrán McFadden Ferry of Donegal during the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup semi-final at  Seán MacCumhaill Park in  Ballybofey. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

Derry’s Gareth McKinless is challenged vy Odhrán McFadden Ferry of Donegal during the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup semi-final at Seán MacCumhaill Park in Ballybofey. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

 

Donegal 2-9 Derry 0-11

The rain fell heavier as Rory Gallagher relayed his post-match verdict to a pair of reporters in Ballybofey.

Ultimately, a four-point loss against his former county won’t matter much in the grand scheme, although Gallagher did indicate a preference to get another game punched in before the grind of the Allianz League begins.

On a night when both teams were short several individuals, Donegal had the greater nous.

Declan Bonner’s men kicked a plethora of wides, but goals from Caolan McGonagle, their man-of-the-match, and Odhrán McFadden-Ferry proved crucial.

McGonagle drilled home on 19 minutes when Derry failed to deal with a dropping ball kept alive by the roaming McFadden-Ferry.

McGonagle’s major put Donegal in front after a flurry of scores, including a delicious Paul Cassidy effort, had Derry leading briefly.

Cassidy and Oisín McWilliams had Derry on level terms before Donegal knifed a second goal when McFadden-Ferry finished after taking a pass from Jamie Brennan.

Donegal led 2-5 to 0-6 at the break.

Shane Heavron had a sniff of a Derry goal, but Eunan Doherty fetched just when the ball looked like it might sneak its way to the Donegal net.

Donegal, even though very wasteful with some shot selections, were good value for this win.

DONEGAL: S Patton; M Curran, E Gallagher, O McFadden-Ferry (1-0); R McHugh, P Brennan, T McClenaghan (0-1); C McGonagle (1-2), M Langan (0-1, free); C Thompson, S O’Donnell (0-1), J Mac Ceallabhuí (0-1); P McBrearty (0-1, free), C McGuinness, J Brennan (0-1).

Subs: N O’Donnell for J Brennan (35), M Murphy (0-1, free) for McGuinness (43), E Doherty for S O’Donnell (45), E O’Donnell for McClenaghan (50), B McCole for Curran (52), O Doherty for McFadden-Ferry (55), A Doherty for N O’Donnell (62), C McGuinness for Langan (67), C McColgan for Mac Ceallabhuí (68).

DERRY: C Bradley; S Downey, P McGrogan, C McCloskey; O McWilliams (0-1), C Doherty, M McEvoy; G McKinless, A Tohill (0-1, mark); B Herron, C McFaul, P Cassidy (0-2); E Downey (0-2, one free), L Murray (0-3, two frees), N Toner (0-1).

Subs: E Bradley for E.Downey (15), J Doherty for McEvoy, S Heavron for McFaul, D Cassidy (0-1) for Doherty (all h-t), P Cassidy for McCloskey (45), M McEvoy for Bradley (68).

Referee: S Laverty (Antrim).

Armagh 0-15 Monaghan 0-15 - Monaghan win 5-4 on pens

Monaghan edged Armagh after penalties after Jemar Hall hooked the final kick of the shoot-out over the bar while Monaghan went five from five to advance at the Athletic Grounds.

Kieran McGeeney’s side led for all but two minutes in the semi-final, with bright impacts from replacements Rian O’Neill and Aidan Nugent in the second half looking to be enough to get them home.

However, three points from Farney substitute Jack McCarron saw Monaghan reel the hosts in and take the lead in the game’s final moments. Stefan Campbell would dramatically bring the slow burner straight to penalties.

Even the trusty left boot of Rory Beggan could not wake the crowd from the slumber of a patient opening quarter. Beggan had two wides before the other Rory, Grugan, from Armagh opened the scoring in the 14th minute.

Monaghan’s attacks continually broke down on Armagh’s line of engagement, a brace each from Grugan and Niall Grimley extended Armagh’s control and Beggan eventually found the target to make it double scores, 0-8 to 0-4 at half-time.

There was one point between the sides five times in the second half as both sides emptied their benches. Armagh remained ahead, holding off Monaghan each and every time before McCarron’s late burst set up the historic first smash and grab shoot-out in the competition.

ARMAGH: S Magill; B Haveron, C Higgins, A Forker (0-1); C O’Neill, Connaire Mackin, N Rowland; Ciarán Mackin, N Grimley (0-2, one free); T Kelly, C O’Hanlon, R McQuillan; R Grugan (0-4, three frees), A Murnin (0-1), S Campbell (0-2).

Subs: M Shields for O’Neill (26 mins), J Óg Burns for Haveron, A Nugent (0-2 , two frees) for Kelly, R O’Neill (0-3, two frees) for O’Hanlon (all h-t), R Finn for Forker, P McGrane for Rowland (both 50), B Crealey for McQuillan (51), A McKay for O’Higgins, J Hall for Murnin (both 55), B McCambridge for Finn (63 ), T Kelly for (74).

MONAGHAN: R Beggan (0-2, one free, one 45); C Lennon (0-1), C Boyle (0-2), R Wylie; J Mealiff, D Ward, C McCarthy (0-3); N Kearns, C Leonard; S Carey, M Bannigan, R McAnespie; A Woods (0-1), C Walshe, D Garland (0-2, two frees).

Subs: K Lavelle for Leonard (3 mins), D Wylie for Ward, D Hughes for Walshe, S Hanratty for Lennon (all h-t), A Mulligan for Woods, D McElearney for Mealiff (both 47), J Irwin for McAnespie (51), J McCarron (0-3, three frees) for Garland, K O’Connell (0-1) for Kearns (both 55), K Gallagher for Carey (63), D Garland for Bannigan (65), S Carey for Lavelle (73).

Referee: C Dourneen (Cavan).

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