Monday 11 December 2017

Game at a glance

Man of the match

Neil McGee (Donegal)

A host of Donegal contenders, from Ryan Bradley to Rory Kavanagh, but defences decided this match and in that respect McGee offered enough to merit the prize, his second-half block from Kevin Niblock standing out.

Turning point

There was none.

Talking point

Liam Bradley's withering criticism of the game and his assertion that if he was a spectator he would not have paid in to see it. Some 7,385 did pay, however, and won't feel they got any value for money from a woeful encounter.

Ref watch

The appointment of Maurice Deegan for a preliminary-round Ulster fixture suggests an expectation of edge but there was none. Mark Dougan's late red card was deserved, even if Bradley felt a little aggrieved. But it was Michael Murphy who might have had more grounds for complaint early on. Deegan handled it well otherwise.

What they said

Jim McGuinness (Donegal manager):

"There were a number of things we would be happy with but in the last third we were lacking composure putting the ball between the sticks. If we're going to progress in the Ulster championship we're going to have to learn and learn quickly."

Liam Bradley (Antrim manager):

"It must have been terrible viewing for the people back home watching because I know if I had paid in to watch that I wouldn't do it. I was quoted talking about puke football earlier this week but that is the modern game. That is the way teams are set up so unless there is some rule change, you are going to see more of the same year in, year out."

Match statistics

Wides: Donegal 10 (5); Antrim 8 (4)

Frees: Donegal 22 (13); Antrim 21 (12)

Yellow cards: Donegal 2 (Martin McElhinney 8, Michael Murphy 17); Antrim 2 (Kevin Niblock 12, Richard Johnston 42).

Red cards: Antrim 1 (Mark Dougan 67).

Attendance: 7,385

What next?

Donegal play Cavan on Sunday, June 12; Antrim face first-round qualifiers on Saturday, June 25.

Irish Independent

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