DONEGAL RECLAIMED THE All-Ireland Under-21C hurling championship with a routine win over Fermanagh this afternoon.
Donegal 3-7 Fermanagh 1-2
Twelve months ago Donegal overcame Tyrone 1-11 to 0-11 at Celtic Park in Derry and this afternoon at Omagh’s Healy Park they repeated the trick.
Today was slow enough starting and Donegal did make it difficult for themselves to begin with. Soon, though, the difference in class began to become more evident. they hit 15 wides to Fermanagh’s two as well as winning by 11 point.
Sam Doherty’s goal five minutes into the second half confirmed Donegal’s dominance when he finished off a move that also involved Sean Curran and Paul Nelson.[adrotate group=”46″]
Then, two goals in a minute – on 44 and 45 – put Donegal on easy street, 3-7 to 1-1 in front. Doherty returned the favour to Nelson, who rounded Colum McPhillips to stoke into the empty net.
Then, almost instantly, Doherty was fouled in front of goal by opposite number Dermot Russell and Roscommon referee Kevin McGeeney stretched out his arms for a penalty. Doherty stuck it on the top corner.
Fermanagh’s Matthew McGrade was given a straight red in the closing stages for getting involved with the Donegal bench. He was joined in the showers before the final whistle by teammate Ciaran Corrigan and Donegal’s Conor Griffin, who were both sent off for their part in a brawl two minutes from time.
In a contest that took a little while to come to the boil – Donegal took 12 minutes to register and Fermanagh 23 – the side managed by Tom Hennessy took a tepid 0-3 to 0-1 advantage.
However, Fermanagh kicked into life and finally got their foot on the accelerator by the 25th minute when Conor Goodwin took advantage of a spill from Donegal goalkeeper Dylan Laverty following a long ball in from Thomas Cleary from midfield.[adrotate group=”53″]
That gave the Ernesiders a 1-1 to 0-3 lead, with Nelson on the mark and Aaron McCauley scoring twice. Two minutes before the break, following a fine point from the left flank by Buncrana’s Nelson, it was all square.
Steven Doherty’s score edged Donegal in front and when half-time came it was 0-5 to 1-1 on the scoreboard and 7-1 on wides.
Sam Doherty opened the second half scoring for Donegal before Fermanagh goalkeeper McPhillips had a fortunate escape on 34 minutes when he dropped a long ball from Sean Anderson on his own goalline.
The respite, though, was brief as a minute later Doherty struck home a Donegal goal to make it 1-7 to 0-1.
His second goal from the penalty following Nelson’s meant Donegal were not going to be caught.
As well as taking the Andrew O’Neill Cup back to the county for the second year on the bounce, Donegal will get their chance in the All-Ireland B competition where they will take on Kerry on Saturday, August 6.
Donegal: Dylan Laverty; Conor Griffin, Donal McLaughlin, Ciaran Rami; Sean Anderson, Jack O’Loughlin, Sam Doherty (2-1, 1-0 pen); Steven Doherty (0-1), Justin McBride; Aaron McCauley (0-2, 1f), Sean Curran, Conor Grant (0-1); Conor O’Grady, Paul Nelson (1-2), Eddie Lynch. Subs: Daniel Wilson for Lynch (half-time), Matt Ahern for Nelson and (44), Tommy Gillespie for McLaughlin (50), Gavin McGrath for Curran (60+2).
Fermanagh: Colum McPhillips; Ronan Markey, Jack Gavin, Sean Finbar Killen; Michael Williamson, Odhran Russell, Dermot Russell; Thomas Cleary, Aaron McGee; Vincent Woods, Matthew McGrade, Kevin Curran; Ciaran Corrigan (0-1, 1f), Conor McShea (0-1), Conor Goodwin (1-0). Subs: Sean Porteous for J Gavin (2); Dara Dillon for Markey (44), Tarlach Russell for Curran (52).
Referee: Kevin McGeeney (Roscommon).Tags: