Sport Gaelic Football

Sunday 25 February 2018

McCartan spearheads clinical Down display

Down 2-10
Donegal 0-12
Armagh 1-13
Monaghan 1-8

A great scoring display from the Down full-forward line was enough to ensure that they left Ballybofey with the spoils.

Down had a blistering opening quarter, hitting 2-4 between the sixth and 19th minutes to lead by 2-5 to 0-1. Shea McCartan had the opening goal on nine minutes while Jerome Johnston fired the second three minutes later.

Donegal relied on midfielder Patrick McBrearty for five of their first-half points total as they trailed by 2-7 to 0-6 at the break. Donegal were a changed team in the second period, with Patrick McBrearty again to the fore, and they gradually reduced the margin but never got closer than three points. McCartan was a real livewire for the winners, always a major threat from start to finish.

Scorers -- Down: J Johnston 1-3 (0-1f), S McCartan 1-2, R O'Hare 0-3 (0-1f), N Donnelly, D Murtagh 0-1 each. Donegal: P McBrearty 0-9 (0-7f), O Grant, M Cannon, C Gibbons (0-1f) 0-1 each.

Down -- M Cunningham; D Turley, G McGovern, D Murtagh; F McAvoy, D O'Hanlon, P Boyle; N McParland, N Donnelly; D Savage, C Mooney, M Bagnall; S McCartan, J Johnston, R O'Hare. Subs: R Johnston for McAvoy (3 min), N Madine for Savage (57), S McArdle for Bagnall (57), D Morgan for Turley (58).

Donegal -- P Boyle; P Carr, C Ward, G Walsh; J Gallagher, L Keaney, J O'Malley;P McBrearty, C Greaney; C Barrett, O Grant, M Cannon; A Coyne, L Kelly, S Boyle. Subs: O McNelis for Barrett (27), C McGinley for Kelly (h-t), E Faulkner for Walsh (h-t), C Gibbons for Coyne (45), A McGirr for Greaney (46).

Ref -- B Cassidy (Derry).

A Stronger, more experienced Armagh deservedly booked their place in the semi-finals at the expense of Monaghan on Saturday evening.

The sides were level four times in the opening quarter, with Armagh playing catch-up twice until a strong period that saw them hit 1-3 without reply between the 19th and 25th minutes put them in the driving seat.

Paul McGeown rifled in the goal in the 22nd minute and Armagh led at half-time by 1-8 to 0-5. Within six minutes of the restart, they had extended that lead to eight points, with scores by Aidan Forker and a Barry Seeley free. Monaghan regrouped and hit 1-3 without reply to reduce the deficit to two.

That was as good as it got for them though as Armagh hit back for three points in quick succession to regain the initiative.

Scorers -- Armagh: P McGeown 1-5 (0-4f), B Seeley 0-4 (0-1f, 0-2 '45's), N McConville, C Gough, A Forker, C Stevenson 0-1 each. Monaghan: J McCarron 1-3 (0-2f), D McKenna 0-3 (0-1f), K McEnaney 0-2.

Armagh -- M McNeice; R McCaughley, C Hoey, R Finnegan; D Nugent, J King, N McConville; P Carragher, C Gough; S McCoy, A Forker, B Seeley; C Stevenson, P McGeown, R Rafferty. Subs: C Trainor for S McCoy (16 mins), R Conlon for P Carragher (51).

Monaghan -- D McDermott; C Boyle, D Savage, M McGuigan; C Coleman, O Coyle, P McKenna; S Sherry, P Dooney; L Hahessy, P McGuigan, J McGuigan; J McCarron, K McEnaney, D McKenna. Subs: A Mulligan for J McGuigan (29), C Treanor for C Coleman (44), T Kerr for L Hahessy (45).

Ref -- O Galligan (Cavan).

Irish Independent

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