Donegal hold out for glory after Boyles' precious goals
Donegal 2-10 Derry 1-11
JD Boyle and Nathan Boyle netted goals in either half as Donegal dethroned Derry to claim their seventh provincial title at this level.
It was far from comfortable, but Donegal managed to get over the line despite a glut of missed chances.
Caolan Devlin, the top scorer with 1-7, brought Derry within two points when he fisted to the net from a centre by Seamus Higgins as the game entered added time.
Donegal hit 14 wides and the twine was threatening to unravel, but Shaun Paul Barrett’s team steadied the ship after Devlin rallied Derry.
Donegal came in as favourites, but their attack lacked a killer punch early on and it was the Oak Leaf who began the brighter with Patrick Coney, Oisin McWilliams and Devlin (2) posting points that put their side four ahead by the 12th minute.
Donegal needed a shot in the arm and JD Boyle provided it in the 21st minute.
The move was free-flowing Donegal at their finest, going all the way from their own 20-metre line before Niall O’Donnell fed Boyle and a crisp shot off the floor gave Ben McKinless no chance.
Donegal – who led 1-4 to 0-5 at the changeover – couldn’t pull sufficiently clear, but they got a precious second goal 13 minutes into the second half.
Odhrán Shiels’ ball in was fetched by Jason McGee ahead of McKinless. McGee was on the floor, but managed to get the pass out to Nathan Boyle, who shot in off the crossbar.
Donegal had missed a great goal chance when Enda McCormick found himself one-on-one with McKinless, but the keeper saved with his legs.
O’Donnell and McGee put three between them with quick-fire scores, and in a tense finish the Tir Chonaill men held on.
Scorers – Donegal: N O’Donnell 0-4 (3f), JD Boyle, N Boyle 1-0 each, E McGettigan 0-2, K Gallagher, P Mogan, J McGee, O McFadden-Ferry 0-1 each. Derry: C Devlin 1-7 (0-6fs), S Higgins, P Coney, F Higgins, O McWilliams 0-1 each
Donegal – G Mulreany; S Ferry, A McCrea, M Curran; O Shiels, JD Boyle, A McLaughlin; J McGee, K Gallagher; N Boyle, Niall O’Donnell, O McFadden-Ferry; P Mogan, E McGettigan, E McCormick. Subs: S McGrath for McCormick (48), B O’Donnell for Ferry (56), S Carr for N Boyle (59), A Deeney for JD Boyle (60).
Derry – B McKinless; C McCluskey, G McLaughlin, A Bradley; P McGrogan, E Concannon, S McErlain; P Coney, O McWilliams; C Doherty, C Devlin, P Quigg; S Downey, F Higgins, E Bradley. Subs: S Higgins for Bradley (39), JP Devlin for McWilliams (41), R Young for Higgins (42), O McKeever for McCluskey (black card, 59).
Ref – N McKenna (Monaghan).