A rampaging comeback by Donegal’s minors wasn’t enough to pip Derry in a game of two halves in the Ulster Minor League at MacCumhaill Park.
Donegal 2-13 Derry 0-21
Behind by ten points at the break, Donegal were a different, improved side in the second half and could well have taken something from the game.
Deep in stoppage time, Aaron Doherty smashed a free kick off the Derry crossbar with an effort that might’ve changed the ending.
Donegal’s opening goal arrived in the 40th minute.
Oisin Gallen, Conor O’Donnell and Brian O’Donnell had points at the outset of the second half, after Ben McCarron briefly stretched the Oak Leaf lead, Donegal struck gold.
Conor O’Donnell and Keelan McGroddy did the spadework and Gallen applied the finish, fisting home.
Just four minutes later, a superb solo move by Doherty ended with the Naomh Columba man firing home.
Conor O’Donnell, Brian O’Donnell, Gallen and Doherty brought Donegal to within a point and they were actually level in the final minute of the game as Paddy Dolan and Michael Gallagher pointed after Conor Quinn and McCarron struck for Derry.
Alex Doherty tagged on two crucial points as Derry had to grind out a win they’d looked to have secured long before then.
Donegal were staring at a ten-point deficit at the break.
Derry were 0-4 to 0-3 ahead by the ninth minute, but Derry scorched through Donegal and led 0-14 to 0-4 at half-time.
McCarron, Martin Bradley and two from Richie Mullen had them four up before Colin McFadden, Doherty and Dolan reduced the arrears.
That was as good as it got for Sean Paul Barrett’s men in that first period, though.
McCarron and Padraig McGrogan slotted over points and the margin would’ve been even greater but for the intervention of Donegal goalkeeper Sean Taylor.
On 18 minutes, Derry created a big goal chance. Cormac Murphy burst through but, in a one-v-one scenario, Taylor saved well.
Derry hit the next seven scores, with McCarron, Simon McErlean, JP Devlin, Mullen and Mark McGrogan (2) putting ten between them.
Oisin Gallen and Oran Quinn swapped points at the end of the half, but Derry were firmly in command by then.
Donegal hit back with a rousing comeback – but were stopped in their tracks by that late Doherty brace.
Donegal: Sean Taylor; Fionn Gallagher, Aaron Deeney, Conor McHugh; Conor O’Donnell (0-2), Ryan McMahon, Paul Murphy; Ronan Doherty, Colin McFadden (0-1); Aaron Doherty (1-2, 1f), Paddy Dolan (0-2), Lanty Molloy; Karl McGlynn, Oisin Gallen (1-3, 3f), Shane McDevitt. Subs: Brian O’Donnell (0-2) for Molloy (half-time), Keelan McGroddy for McDevitt (half-time), Aidan Doogan for McMahon (black card, 43), Michael Gallagher (0-1) for McFadden (53), Jack McSharry for Gallagher (56), Niall Hannigan for O’Donnell (58).
Derry: Oran Harkin; Conleith McShane, Conor McCloskey, Sean McKeever; Martin Bradley (0-1), Oran McGill, Oran Quinn (0-1); Padraig McGrogan (0-2), Dara Rafferty; JP Devlin (0-1), Richie Mullen (0-3), Simon McErlean (0-1); Cormac Murphy, Mark McGrogan (0-2, 1f), Ben McCarron (0-6). Subs: Alex Doherty (0-2) for Mullen (half-time), Callum Brown for Rafferty (half-time), Lorcan Speer (0-1) for McErlean (half-time), Conor Quinn (0-1) for O.Quinn (45), Tiernan Walsh for Murphy (45).
Referee: James Lewis (Fermanagh)Tags: