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Donegal through to fifth consecutive Ulster final


Derry's Mark Lynch in action against Donegal's Odhran Mac Niallais

Derry's Mark Lynch in action against Donegal's Odhran Mac Niallais

Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Derry's Mark Lynch in action against Donegal's Odhran Mac Niallais

Reigning Ulster champions Donegal remain on course to win their fourth provincial title in five years.

Last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists overcame the stern challenge of neighbours Derry, 1-9 to 0-10, in a tense affair in Clones.

The game's critical score came early in the second half, a goal by Martin O'Reilly, which put Donegal four points clear. It was followed almost immediately by a Martin McElhinney point and although they then went almost 20 minutes without scoring Derry - with nine wides - could not bridge the gap.

It means that Donegal will contest their fifth Ulster final in a row in two weeks' time. And for the third year running, Monaghan will be their opponents.

"It was a tough battle," said Donegal's Colm McFadden, who scored two points in a man of the match performance.

"We got off to a good start, but Derry came back at us well. But then similar to last year we kicked on just after half-time with the goal and a couple of scores."

McFadden added: "Thankfully we took the right options at times and we are back in the Ulster final."

In the football qualifiers, Wexford, Armagh and Louth go into tomorrow morning's draw, where they will be joined by the winners of this afternoon's clash between Tyrone and Limerick in Omagh.

Wexford made home advantage count in disposing of Down by 2-16 to 2-11, becoming the third team in a week to defeat a team from a higher division in the league.

Wexford had a two-point lead midway through the second half when the Rossiter brothers - Neamhan and Tiernan - struck for a goal each with a minute of each other.

In Armagh's Athletic Grounds, the home side was somewhat flattered by a 10-point winning margin over Wicklow. Johnny Magee's men pushed Armagh all the way, and had they had a reliable place-kicker, could well have pulled off a major shock. Instead, two goals by the brilliant Jamie Clarke in the last 10 minutes saw Armagh through.

In Drogheda, substitute Conor Grimes scored the only goal of the match in Louth's eight-point win over Leitrim. It was the Connacht side's 15th defeat in 16 Qualifier games.

Meanwhile, there will be a minute's silence before the 2.0 throw-in at today's Leinster senior football championship semi-final between Meath and Wicklow in Croke Park. Simon Carty, whose mother Lorna was confirmed on Friday afternoon as one of the victims of the terrorist attack in Tunisia, is a member of the Meath panel.

Team captain Donal Keogan will also wear a black armband on behalf of the players and management in an expression of sympathy with the Carty family.

Sunday Indo Sport