Dublin too strong for Donegal, without Con O’Callaghan
Dessie Farrell’s side get over the loss of Con O’Callaghan to early black card
Dublin’s Brian Howard climbs high to break ball against Donegal in the EirGrid All-Ireland U21 Football Championship semi-final at Kingspan Breffni Park in Cavan. Photograph: Philip Magowan/Inpho/Presseye
Dublin 1-13 Donegal 0-9
Dessie Farrell’s Dublin qualified easily for the Eirgrid All-Ireland Under-21 football final against a disappointing Donegal at Kingspan Breffni Park.
Dublin, despite losing Con O’Callaghan to a black card after just five minutes, were dominant. O’Callaghan had given them the lead from a free on three minutes and they were the only one troubling the scoreboard operator.
Tom Fox and Glenn O’Reilly added points by the 14th minute, while Donegal couldn’t find the target.
O’Reilly restored the Dublin four points advantage and Aaron Byrne missed a good opportunity from a free before Niall O’Donnell and Eoghan Bán Gallagher combined to set up Michael Carroll for the only other point of the half. Donegal had a great chance from the kick-out as Jason McGee fielded and set Michael Langan on his way. He seemed to be fouled but the ball broke clear and the chance was gone.
Donegal got the perfect start to the second half with a Jason McGee point on 30 seconds and Niall O’Donnell added a second with his left, but Dublin responded with points from Aaron Byrne and Cian Murphy.
They had stretched the lead to 0-10 to 0-5 before Seán McMahon came forward to fire home the only goal of the game and seal the win for the Dubs, for whom Brian Howard and Aaron Byrne were outstanding.
Donegal could point to the five-day turnaround from their Ulster final win on Monday night, but in truth Dublin looked much sharper throughout the field.
DUBLIN: Evan Comerford; Darren Byrne (0-1), Cillian O’Shea, Eoin Murchan; Darren Gavin, Seán McMahon (1-0), Cian Murphy (0-2); Andrew Foley, Tom Fox (0-1); Glenn O’Reilly (0-2), Aaron Byrne (0-4, three frees), Brian Howard; Colm Basquel, Con O’Callaghan (0-1, free), Dan O’Brien.
Subs: Chris Sallier (0-1) for O’Callaghan (b/c, 5 mins), Aaron Elliot for Foley (23 mins); Darragh Spillane for Fox 37 (mins); Andrew McGowan (0-1) for O’Reilly (47 mins); Shane Clayton for Basquel (60 mins).
DONEGAL: Danny Rodgers; Conor Morrison, Stephen McMenamin, Brendan McCole; Cian Mulligan, Dáire Ó Baoill, Eoghan Bán Gallagher; Tony McClenaghan, Jason McGee (0-1); Michael Carroll (0-1), Stephen McBrearty (0-1), Mark Coyle; Lorcan Connor, Michael Langan (0-3, two frees), Jamie Brennan.
Subs: Conor Doherty for Coyle (15 mins); Niall O’Donnell (0-2) for McBrearty (24 mins); Ethan O’Donnell (0-1) for Connor (37 mins); Rory Carr for Mulligan (42 mins); Caolan McGonigle for McClenaghan (49 mins); Stephen McBrearty for Ó Baoill (55 mins).
Referee: James Bermingham (Cork).