Saturday 24 February 2018

Donegal hit top gear in second half to see off Antrim

Donegal manager Jim McGuinness speaking to his players
Donegal manager Jim McGuinness speaking to his players

Donegal's second half surge saw off a determined Antrim challenge on a scoreline of 3-16 to 0-12 in Clones.

Second half goals from Leo McCloone, Darrach O'Connor and Dermot Molloy were enough to put plenty of daylight between Antrim and Donegal.

The first half didn't go  to script as Antrim went toe-to-toe with the 2012 All-Ireland champions in an open and entertaining open.

Darrach O'Connor and Odhran MacNiallis replaced Rory Kavanagh and Karl Lacey before the throw-in and both were on the scoresheet as Donegal stretched into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead and would be very influential throughout.

Antrim's blanket defence and fast counterattacks started to pay dividends and with Brian Neeson accurate from frees and Eoin McCann and Mark Sweeney pitching in from play.

The sides were level at seven points apiece at the break but Donegal began to exert more control after the interval.

A brace of points from MacNiallis and a goal for the second game running for Leo McCloone put Jim McGuinness' side six points up.

Darrach O'Connor put the game beyond Antrim when he finished brilliantly to the bottom corner after a mazy run through the Antrim defence.

Both sides swapped scores for the remainder of the game but the intensity of the game evaporated and a late Dermot Molloy goal for Donegal put the gloss on a 13-point victory.

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