DONEGAL’S PANEL MEMBERS certainly put up a strong case this afternoon in a thoroughly comprehensive win over Antrim in the Ulster Under-17 League today.
Antrim 3-3 Donegal 8-19
Brian McGeehin’s Donegal side had already booked their spot in the semi-finals of this year’s competition, so it gave the management an opportunity to use their squad and gave the players a chance to force their way into the reckoning for next week’s semi-final away to Monaghan.
With several players that started the win over Derry in Steelstown rested for this game that was moved from Mallusk to Randalstown.
Donegal were totally dominant in the first period on a sunny day with little wind on a slightly sloping pitch at the Tír na nÓg grounds in Antrim, turning around with a healthy lead of 7-11 to 0-0 – Antrim kicking just three wides in the opening half to Donegal’s ywo.
Drafted into the starting line-up were Sean Patton, John Relihan, Cian McGloin, Patrick McColgan, Karl McGlynn, Jack McSharry, Barry Gallagher, Niall Hannigan, Cian McEniff, Fintan Griffin, Paddy Dolan, Oisin Purdy and Matthew McGovern.
And it was St Eunan’s clubmates Purdy and McGovern who were the main architects of Antrim’s downfall in that opening 30 minutes helping themselves to five of their team’s seven goals, with club mate Niall Hannigan and Convoy’s Paddy Dolan notching the other three-pointers for Donegal.
Donegal began brightly with Cian McEniff tapping over from 25 metres in the second minute to set Donegal on their way. The lead was doubled just a minute later when Patrick McColgan cut in from the left and drilled over from 30 metres. They had to wait until the seventh minute to get their first goal.
McGovern fed a loose ball to Purdy who drilled the rolling ball to the net from just inside the small parallelogram and a Hannigan from 20-metre extended the lead out to 1-3 to 0-0.
Barry Gallagher, Jack McSharry and Paddy Dolan were dominating the midfield exchanges with Cian McEniff an ever willing outlet for their endeavours.
Matthew McGovern pointed from play on nine minutes after great work from Paddy McColgan and within 90 seconds Paddy Dolan added another point from play before McGovern got his second point from play.
Donegal were rampant at this stage with Antrim struggling to get out of their own half and when they did, they found a Donegal defence in no mood to give up an opening score for the Saffron’s with Luke Devlin marshalling the half-back line and Ronan Docherty not giving the Antrim full-forward any chance of easy possession they kept Antrim’s attempts to a minimum during the first half.
The second goal came on 14 minutes with Paddy Dolan finishing to the net after taking a pass from McEniff and Donegal’s third goal arrived on 16 minutes after good build-up play from McSharry, Barry Gallagher and the ball was worked to Matthew McGovern who beat the keeper to the ball and fisted to the net.
Within a minute Purdy had his second goal when McEniff found McGovern and he set up clubmate Purdy who again finished clinically.
Fintan Griffin then pointed from play after being set-up by McColgan before Hannigan goaled after being set up by McGovern who collected a long ball from Barry Gallagher and fed the inrushing Hannigan who blasted low into the net.
Cian McEniff pointed from 30 metres after winning an Antrim kick out before Purdy completed his hat-trick on 23 minutes. Purdy initially spilled a pass before finding the ball at his feet six metres out and he finished with aplomb.
Paddy Dolan scored a ’45 before Purdy pointed from play. McGovern got his second and Donegal’s seventh goal of the first period when he played a one-two with Purdy he finished coolly with his left foot from 12 yards. Paddy Dolan pointed to complete a totally dominant first half display that will have delighted Brian McGeehin and his management team with their fast flowing football that Antrim simply had no answer to.
Milford’s Ryan McMahon replaced the injured Devlin at half-time as Antrim sought to restore some pride with the slight hill to their advantage for the second period.
They did get their opening score in the 35th minute when their hard working midfielder pointed from 25 metres and they got a second point three minutes later before Niall Hannigan pointed from play. Antrim got a goal when a high ball wasn’t dealt with in the 39th minute and the Antrim centre-half forward gleefully gathered before blasting past Patton.
Donegal introduced Shane Gillespie and Shay Doherty in the 42nd minute for Cian McEniff and Barry Gallagher with Ronan Docherty moving to midfield and McSharry taking up the full-back position. Paddy Dolan pointed after Hannigan took a pass from McColgan who’d won Patton’s kick-out and he fisted to Dolan who pointed on the run from 30 metres.
Sub Gillespie then pointed after taking a pass from McGovern and that score was sandwiched between another Dolan point from play. Gillespie then pointed again after a pass from Griffin and he scored his third point from a free after McColgan was fouled. Doherty scored Donegal’s second half goal after being set up by Purdy.
Shaun McGee, Kevin McGuinness and Darragh Byrne were introduced for Purdy, Relihan and McGlynn and McGee completed the Donegal scoring with a point from play. Antrim added further goals in the 43rd and 50th minutes and points in the 41st and 43rd minutes gave the scoreboard a less flattering look.
Donegal: Sean Patton; John Relihan, Ronan Docherty, Cian McGloin; Patrick McColgan (0-1), Luke Devlin, Karl McGlynn; Jack McSharry, Barry Gallagher; Niall Hannigan (1-2, 1f), Cian McEniff (0-2), Fintan Griffin (0-1); Paddy Dolan (1-5, ‘45′), Matthew McGovern (2-2), Oisin Purdy (3-1). Subs: Ryan McMahon for Devlin (half-time); Shane Gillespie (0-3, 1f) and Shay Doherty (1-0) for Gallagher and McEniff (42); Kevin McGuinness for McGlynn (49); Shaun McGee (0-1) for Purdy (55), Darragh Byrne for Relihan (57).Tags: