McBrearty on fire in Celtic Park heat as Donegal cruise
Donegal 2-16 Derry 0-16
Derry had been the bane of many baking hot afternoons in Declan Bonner's career, but there was little danger of a repeat yesterday.
Bonner saw Donegal rarely hit the high gears as they eased to an Ulster semi-final slot in searing Celtic Park heat.
Goals by Hugh McFadden and Cian Mulligan, along with a stellar display by Patrick McBrearty, helped Donegal to a routine win.
Bonner had been haunted by the memories of 1998, his first summer as Donegal manager, when a last-gasp Joe Brolly goal stole an Ulster title from beneath his nose.
Derry had Donegal's number in the 1993 Ulster final and a couple of National League quarter-finals too, while Derry shocked Bonner's Donegal in the Ulster Minor campaign of 2015.
But at the foot of the Creggan, Bonner was never in any great stress, even if Donegal will feel as if they should have had the issue wrapped up long before the last shrill of Maurice Deegan's whistle.
"To win any match in Ulster is good," Bonner said.
"It was a patchy performance. We know that. We played well in patches and got some good scores, but at the same time we were poor in patches.
"Most teams you play will get chances, but a lot of what we done today wouldn't be at the level that we want to be at and we have to improve - there's no doubt about that. We now have to get ready for the semi-final.
"We mixed the good with the bad today. We have just got to be more consistent over a period of 70-plus minutes."
The opening goal arrived in the 12th minute as Shaun Patton - whose kick-outs posed Derry a lot of problems - set up the attack.
Michael Murphy picked up possession from Patton's dart and McFadden had already set off for goal.
McFadden's finish under Ben McKinless was perfectly placed and it was a goal that ultimately took the sting from Derry - who came here under the dark cloud of relegation to Division 4 for the first time since the 1960s.
"That is the highest level game we have played all year against one of the best teams in the country," Derry boss Damian McErlain said.
"That side has played all spring on TV and we certainly have not done that.
"Patton's kick-outs were superb and he cost us a couple of times, but that is the game now."
The in-form McBrearty scored three-in-a-row as Donegal raised the temperatures in an already baking hot cauldron.
Emmett Bradley's four points brought the Oak Leafers to within a goal, but a stunner from McBrearty, arched over from the touchline on the stand side, was as good as they come and Donegal led 1-10 to 0-7.
Donegal might have had a second goal, but McKinless denied Ryan McHugh after he played a one-two with the evergreen Frank McGlynn.
Derry failed to put Donegal under any undue pressure and only two of their starting 15 - Bradley and Lynch - were on the mark.
In an Ulster Club semi-final last winter McBrearty tormented Brendan Rogers during Kilcar's tussle with Slaughtneil. And McBrearty left Rogers in need of smelling salts here as the Donegal ace returned to his top form.
Indeed, McBrearty had two chances of goals in part two, fisting over with one and driving another wide.
Mulligan came off the bench to net a goal in Donegal's preliminary round win over Cavan in Ballybofey and the Gaoth Dobhair flier repeated the trick here. Daire Ó Baoill released Mulligan and his fierce finish gave McKinless no chance.
Scorers - Donegal: P McBrearty 0-8 (3f), L McLoone 0-3, H McFadden, C Mulligan 1-0 each, M Murphy (1 '45), R McHugh 0-2 each, J Brennan 0-1
Derry: E Bradley 0-8 (5f), M Lynch 0-5 (4f), J Kielt 0-2, N Toner 0-1
Donegal - S Patton 8; P McGrath 6, N McGee 5, E Gallagher 7; C Ward 7, P Brennan 7, R McHugh 7; H McFadden 8, M Murphy 7; C Thompson 6, L McLoone 7, F McGlynn 7; P McBrearty 9, M Langan 6, J Brennan 6. Subs: S McMenamin 6 for McGee (11), O MacNiallais 6 for Langan (ht), C Mulligan (1-0) 7 for P Brennan (43), C McGinley 6 for Thompson (49), D O Baoill 6 for McGrath (61), M McHugh 6 for McGlynn (66).
Derry - B McKinless 6; P McNeill 6, B Rogers 5, K McKaigue 6; K Johnston 6, C McKaigue 7, SL McGoldrick 5; C McAtamney 6, M Bateson 5; P Cassidy 6, E Bradley 8, P Coney 6; E Lynn 6, S McGuigan 5, M Lynch 7. Subs: L McGoldrick 6 for SL McGoldrick (h-t), J Doherty 6 for Bateson (ht), C McWilliams 6 for Rogers (52) N Toner (0-1) 6 for McGuigan (54), J Kielt (0-2) 6 for McAtamney (61), P Hagan 5 for Cassidy (61).
Ref - M Deegan (Laois).