Thursday 26 April 2018

Gallagher's happy return to Donegal

Fermanagh 1-13 Donegal 1-10

Donegal’s Nathan Mullins gets up close and personal with Leo Cullen (left) and Kane Connor of Fermanagh in last night’s McKenna Cup clash. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Donegal’s Nathan Mullins gets up close and personal with Leo Cullen (left) and Kane Connor of Fermanagh in last night’s McKenna Cup clash. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Chris McNulty

Rory Gallagher returned to haunt Donegal last night as a Seamus Quigley-inspired Fermanagh reached the McKenna Cup semi-finals.

The enigmatic Quigley, drafted back into the Fermanagh squad by new manager Gallagher, helped himself to 1-7 in a fine performance.

Gallagher was back at Sean Mac Cumhaill Park for the first time since stepping down as the Donegal manager in July following a 14-point defeat to Galway.

Gallagher took over as Fermanagh boss in September after a three-year stint in the Donegal hot-seat and has started 2018 in fine fashion with three wins from three outings.

Rory Gallagher. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Rory Gallagher. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Quigley led the revival after Donegal had a 1-5 to 0-5 lead at half-time.

Donegal, who took 13 minutes to break their duck, led for the first time when Jamie Brennan goaled in the 20th minute. Brennan - in for the black-carded Odhrán Mac Niallais after just 12 minutes - steered in from close range after a neat pass across goal by Tony McClenaghan.

Mac Niallais's Donegal return, following a year away from inter-county football, ended with a trip on Eoin Donnelly, but Brennan was on fire after coming in.

Brennan hit 1-2 in a four-minute spell, including a gorgeous effort from out on the left-hand side, as Donegal took control.

Paul McCusker of Fermanagh in action against Paul Brennan of Donegal. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Paul McCusker of Fermanagh in action against Paul Brennan of Donegal. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Ciaran McGinley snapped just wide and the again-impressive Nathan Mullins was denied a second goal in as many games when Che Cullen batted off the line.

Donegal lost Stephen McMenamin to a controversial black card following an incident with Daniel Teague that saw the Red Hughs man initially change a torn jersey.

Fermanagh hit back at the start of the second half with Quigley firmly to the fore.

Quigley, a late inclusion on the Erne team, arched over again on the resumption and Fermanagh twice drew level in a lively spell.

Michael Carroll of Donegal in action against Ryan Jones of Fermanagh. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Michael Carroll of Donegal in action against Ryan Jones of Fermanagh. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

His goal came after a period that saw Fermanagh twice draw level, efforts from Eoin Donnelly and Quigley bisected by a sweet score by Stephen McBrearty. Quigley climbed high to get the better of Donegal goalkeeper Mark Anthony McGinley and fisted home from Paul McCusker's inviting delivery.

Fermanagh could have had the game out of Donegal's reach, but Donnelly somehow lobbed wide after finding space.

Donegal sent Leo McLoone - another who was on a self-imposed exile in 2017 - on for the last 20 minutes but Fermanagh had done enough.

O'Donnell and Hugh McFadden hit points for Donegal but Fermanagh held firm to book a semi-final against Tyrone.

Scorers - Donegal: J Brennan 1-2, N O'Donnell 0-4 (2f), S McBrearty 0-2, H McFadden, C McGinley 0-1 each. Fermanagh: Seamus Quigley 1-7 (5f, 1 '45), D McCusker 0-2, E Donnelly, D Teague, B Mulroney, A Breen 0-1 each.

Donegal - MA McGinley; P Brennan, E Doherty, S McMenamin; T McClenaghan, C Ward, M O'Reilly; H McFadden, N Mullins; C McGinley, O Mac Niallais, M Carroll; S McBrearty, D O'Connor, N O'Donnell. Subs: J Brennan for Mac Niallais (12, BC), E Gallagher for McMenamin (h-t, BC), C McGonagle for McGinley (h-t), B McCole for P.Brennan (41), L McLoone for O'Connor (48), A Lyons for Mullins (64)

Fermanagh - P Cadden; E McHugh, C Cullen, K Connor; P McCosker, L Cullen, D McCosker; E Donnelly, R Jones; B Mulrone, D Teague, A Breen; R Lyons, C Jones, Seamus Quigley. Subs: R Corrigan for Teague (h-t), C McManus for McHugh (54), C McGee for Lyons (65), Sean Quigley for Seamus Quigley (68), J McCann for C Jones (70, BC), E Courtney for Breen (70).

REF - P Hughes (Armagh).

 

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