14-man Donegal dig deep to see off Fermanagh
Donegal 2-12 Fermanagh 0-11
Donegal recovered from the dismissal of Neil McGee to beat Fermanagh and book their place in the Ulster SFC semi-final.
Rory Gallagher’s men looked set to record a routine win when Odhrán MacNiallais found the net in the 13th minute to put them four points in front and in control of the game.
MacNiallais blasted the ball to the roof of the net after a superb hand passing move involving several players cut the Fermanagh defence apart.
Fermanagh reduced the deficit to two points before the game changed on the stroke of half time when Donegal’s Neil McGee was shown a straight red card.
McGee was rightly dismissed by referee Maurice Deegan for a cowardly forearm smash to the face of Ruairi Corrigan that saw Fermanagh awarded a penalty.
Seán Quigley had the chance to put Fermanagh in front but he saw his poorly struck penalty saved, leaving his side two points down but a man up at half time.
Safe to say Neil McGee deserved his red https://t.co/xIV4jNVFAa— Off The Ball (@offtheball) June 12, 2016
Both sides traded frees at the start of the second half before MacNiallais scored his second goal of the game to put daylight between the sides again.
The wing forward finished off another fine team move, palming the ball to the net from close range to put the hosts 2-07 to 0-08 in front.
Fermanagh saw Che Cullen black carded for dragging down Michael Murphy and they fell further behind when Mark O’Reilly kicked his third point of the game.
Further points from Paddy McBrearty and Reilly stretched Donegal’s lead to eight points before Corrigan’s sixth point of the match finally ended a 20-minute spell since Fermanagh’s last score.
Ryan Jones had a goal chance for Fermanagh a minute later but his effort went over the bar and Tomás Corrigan then knocked over a close-range free to reduce the deficit to five points with seven minutes remaining.
Donegal didn’t panic, however, and they played clever possession football to close out the game, adding two points in injury time to record a 2-12 to 0-11 victory.
Donegal will now face Monaghan in the Ulster semi-final without key man Neil McGee while Fermanagh will be no pushovers in the qualifiers.