FROM RORY O’DONNELL IN BOSTON Donegal 4 – 15 Galway 1-5
Donegal swept past Galway with a powerful display off football and finally provided a look at the capabilities of a team laden with intercounty talent. With Kevin Cassidy in the half back line, Brian White and Brian Donnelly in the middle of the field, and Dessie Dolan and Derek Maguire up front, Donegal blew past their opponents and effectively had their place booked in next week’s final after 20 minutes had expired.
The long layoff did not affect Donegal in the slightest as they gave Galway a roasting in the first 15 minutes of the game. Winning everything in the middle of the field, and with lots of running from the midfielders and half forwards, Donegal clocked up 2 goals and five points as Galway struggled to deal with the onslaught. When in possession Galway struggled to find options, while Donegal had nothing but when the ball was in the hands of a yellow shirted player. Louth duo Derek Maguire and Brian Donnelly combined for the first goal. Maguire created the opening and Donnelly crashed the ball home from inside the 21. Donegal carved open the Galway defence again for Eddie Kelly to fire home and the writing was on the wall for Galway. Dolan and Maguire followed with a point each before Maguire slotted home Donegal’s third goal with 25 minutes of the half expired. Galway managed points from O’Rourke and Kevin O’Grady, but as if to rub salt in Donegal goaled a fourth time when an attempted point dropped short and Kieran Williams forced the ball into the net. At the half Donegal were looking in good shape with a massive 16 point lead.
Galway took the field looking to salvage some pride over the second 30 minute stint. Kevin Cummins entered the fray and netted with 5 minutes gone. Galway did manage to put in a better shift, but Donegal could well afford to take their foot of the gas. Galway tried to put the high ball in to Paddy O’Rourke, but to little effect. When Sean O’Donnell was shown a second yellow card and had to leave the field of play Galway’s task became even harder. The last 20 minutes of the game ran it’s course as Donegal continued to pop over the points. After a display like this, Donegal have to be considered red hot favourites to lift the fourth senior football championship in the history of the club.
Referee: Syl Doyle (Loch Garman)
Man of the Match: Derek Maguire (Donegal)
Donegal: P. Boyle, D. Reynolds, M. Canny, K. Mulhern, G. Reynolds, K. Cassidy, B. Donnelly, B. White, E. Kelly, D. Dolan, F. Clancy, D. Maguire, K. Williams. Galway: P. McComiskey, J. O’Callaghan, D. Wynne, S. Gallagher, E. Whelan, S. O’Donnell, E. Kavanagh, T. Walsh, J. Kehoe, M. Kenny, D. Reddin, K. O’Grady, P. O’Rourke.
Junior A Football
Donegal 0-13 Aidan McAnespies 1-8
The second junior A finalist was decided Sunday morning. Donegal came from behind late in the second half after looking comfortable in the first. McAnespies opened the second half with a flurry of scores to take a five point lead into the last 10 minutes, but Donegal rallied with seven points on the trot to make the final next Sunday.
The first period saw McAnespies open a two point lead before Donegal got into the game. Aaron Mcloughlin pointed first and was followed by Peadar Nugent. Donegal had most of the possession, but wasted several chances. Points from a Paddy McMyler free followed by a Christy McLoughlin point and a lovely score from Kevin Curran put Donegal ahead. Most of the chances fell to the men from Tir Chonaill who looked the fitter side. Paddy McMyler added another free before the half time whistle, and Rocky Ivers a fifth point followed byPaddy Wanish. McAnespies generated a handful of chances that drifted wide and Donegal led by 0-6 to 0-2 at the break.
Before the second half was five minutes old McAnespies were on top. A burst of scores to open the half from Enda Hamill, Fergus McMahon, and Nigel Regan erased Donegal’s lead. Regan netted in typical fashion from close range and Enda Hamill almost had a second, but Jonathan Byrne got a hand to the shot and tipped it over the bar. McAnespies looked far from sluggish now. The fresh legs of substitutes Hamill and Neil Donaghy gave the team a lift. Fergus McMahon was more involved in the middle while at the back Steven Magill and Barry Smith did well. Paddy Stones added a point and with 10 minutes left Donegal were the ones with the gap to bridge. The northerners came forward in waves and for McAnespies it was all hands to the pump. The breaks in the middle were going to Donegal and three pointed frees on the trot from Kevin Curran and Paddy McMyler closed the gap to three points. Christy Bell had a shot that was destined for the far corner and Smith acrobatically tipped it over the bar. The excitement grew as Bell pointed to level the scores. Barney Friel put the winning score over the bar.
Referee: James Owens (Loch Garman)
Man of the Match: Enda Hamill (Aidan McAnespies)
Donegal: J. Byrne, P. McNulty, D. McBride, P. McLoughlin, E. Doonan, D. Doherty, C. Bell, M. McGinty, R. Ivers, K. Curran, P. McMyler, C. McLoughlin, D. Green. Macs: N. Duffy, P. McCusker, G. McAlinden, A. McLoughlin, G. Hennessey, B. Smith, F. McMahon, S. Lynn, S. Magill,A. Comerford, E. Daly, P. Nugent, N. Regan.
On Friday night, Kerry and Donegal also could not be separated after 80 minutes of play and the final score was Kerry 1-15 to 0-18 for Donegal. The finalists will not be decided until next week.