EOIN Dowling’s goal late in the first half catapulted the Donegal U20s to an impressive Ulster Championship win over Armagh.
Donegal 1-17 Armagh 0-9
By Chris McNulty at Sean MacCumhaill Park
Dowling’s goal was the big score as Donegal took a firm command of this preliminary round tie.
In added time at the end of the half, Dowling took possession from a dropping ball in from Padraig McGettigan. Right in front of goal, Dowling showed good composure to steady himself before slotting past Shea Magill, the Armagh goalkeeper.
Dowling’s goal put Donegal 1-8 to 0-4 in front at the changeover.
Donegal had been getting on top of things in the second quarter.
Termon’s Ryan McFadden clipped over his second of the evening to give Donegal a 0-4 to 0-3 lead – the first time they were in front – at the water break in the first half.
Two James McCormac frees helped give Armagh an early advantage, but a monster score by McGettigan, curling delightfully over from the right-hand side, got Donegal off the mark.
With Donegal growing into the contest, Dowling and Richard O’Rourke opened up a three-point lead for the home side.
St Eunan’s duo Shane O’Donnell and Dowling helped to maintain Donegal’s dominance as they moved five in front.
McGettigan might have had a goal, but his effort was turned away by Magill.
Although McCormac ended a 21-minute barren spell for the Orchard, but Dowling struck gold for Donegal.
Duffy deployed a team that had five starters who featured in last year’s Under-20 final defeat to Tyrone in Clones with Paul O’Hare, Rory O’Donnell, O’Rourke, McGettigan and Johnny McGroddy included.
Naomh Columba’s O’Hare was to play at centre half-back after an emotional week in which he buried his grandfather, James O’Hare, a former Down player.
A minutes silence, also in honour of former Donegal player Joe ‘Dodo’ Winston preceded the game.
A pair of McGroddy frees, either side of a tidy Rory O’Donnell point, kept Donegal on top.
Shane O’Donnell arched over two lovely scores and McGettigan knocked over after seeing an initial effort cannon off the goal frame.
Corner-back Caolan McColgan was in on the act for Donegal, who now face Tyrone in an away quarter-final next Friday.
Donegal: Daithi Roberts; Caolan McColgan (0-1), Jamie Grant, Jack Gallagher; Kieran Tobin, Paul O’Hare, Richard O’Rourke (0-1); Rory O’Donnell (0-1), Ryan McFadden (0-2); Carlos O’Reilly, Shane O’Donnell, Ryan McShane; Eoin Dowling (1-2), Padraig McGettigan (0-4), Johnny McGroddy (0-3f).
Subs: Nathan Byrne for O’Hare (43), Ronan Frain for O’Reilly (52), Keelan Dunleavy for O’Rourke (55), Anthony Doherty for Tobin (57), Ronan Gallagher for Dowling (59).
Armagh: Shea Magill; Peter McGrane, Oran McKeown, Lee Rice; Redmond Fench, Lennox Camara (0-1f), Sean Quigley; Niall McCorry, Eoin Woods (0-1); Dara O’Callaghan, Jamie Martin (0-1), Tiernan Kelly; Mark McKeever (0-4f), Louis Hughes, James McCormac (0-2). Subs: Rory Kearney for Quigley (29), Joe Sheridan for O’Callaghan (29), Diarmaid Loney for Hughes (36), Oisin King for Kelly (46), Aidan Harney for French (47).
Referee: Anthony Marron (Monaghan).