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McBrearty on song as Donegal warm up for Kerry

Donegal 0-20 Armagh 1-10

Donegal's Patrick McBrearty in action against Armagh's Joe McIlroy during the McKenna Cup semi-final at Celtic Park in Derry. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Donegal's Patrick McBrearty in action against Armagh's Joe McIlroy during the McKenna Cup semi-final at Celtic Park in Derry. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Donegal will travel to Killarney for their opening league fixture on the back of a big win over Armagh which booked a place against Tyrone in the Dr McKenna Cup final last night. The sides were level at 0-9 to 1-6 at half-time, but Donegal dominated after the break.

Before that, they start the Allianz League campaign away to Kerry next Sunday and new boss Declan Bonner has plenty of options.

Paddy McBrearty was rampant with 0-8 while powerhouse midfielder Nathan Mullins continues to impress on his arrival in the north-west. Stephen McBrearty and Niall O'Donnell came off the bench and scored three points each from play in a one-sided second half.

Donegal fielded a strong line-up while Kieran McGeeney went a different route with a lot of fringe players, and 19-year-old full-forward Eamon McGeown was one of the few to take his chance.

Armagh's Ronan Lappin in action against Stephen McBrearty of Donegal during their McKenna Cup semi-final clash. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Armagh's Ronan Lappin in action against Stephen McBrearty of Donegal during their McKenna Cup semi-final clash. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

He fired 1-2 from play in the first half, scoring from close range off both feet before blasting home a goal in the 14th minute to put Armagh 1-3 to 0-2 ahead.

Paddy McBrearty was the go-to man at the other end of the field for Donegal. The Kilcar forward had bagged 0-6 by half-time, including four points from play, and linked up well in a two-man full-forward line with Marty O'Reilly.

The return to fitness of Ciaran Thompson after an injury-plagued year is also a big plus for Donegal. He teed Paddy McBrearty up for a couple of scores and also nailed one of his own before the break as Donegal started to pile on the pressure.

Mullins, the son of Dublin legend Brian, then broke through a couple of tackles for a fine score. But Armagh had points from Michael Stevenson and Stephen Sheridan to go in level at the break, 1-6 to 0-9.

It was all Donegal in the second half with Paddy McBrearty (two), and new face O'Donnell scoring to put them in control. They streaked clear, with Mullins scoring a superb point from distance before Paddy McBrearty teed up his younger brother Stephen for a close-range score.

Armagh went 27 minutes without a point in the second half before Stevenson ended a run of seven unanswered points from Donegal.

Armagh's Aaron Findon battles against Donegal's Jason McGee at Celtic Park in Derry. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Armagh's Aaron Findon battles against Donegal's Jason McGee at Celtic Park in Derry. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Donegal's subs made an impact with Stephen McBrearty and O'Donnell scoring six points from play between them.

Scorers - Donegal: P McBrearty 0-8 (3f), D O'Connor (1f), N O'Donnell, S McBrearty 0-3 each, N Mullins 0-2, C Thompson 0-1. Armagh: E McGeown 1-3 (1f), M Stevenson 0-3 (1 '45), S Sheridan, C White, O MacIomhair, E English 0-1.

Donegal: MA McGinley; P Brennan, S McMenamin, C Ward; E Doherty, L McLoone, T McClenaghan; J McGee, N Mullins; EB Gallagher, C Thompson, C McGonigle; P McBrearty, M O'Reilly, D O'Connor. Subs: N O'Donnell for McClenaghan (33), C McGinley for McMenamin (h-t), S McBrearty for Thompson (41), K McBrearty for McGee (56), B McCole for P McBrearty (68).

Armagh: P Morrison; J McAlinden, O Lappin, J Cosgrove; J McElroy, R Kennedy, D McKenna; A Findon, S Sheridan; R Lappin, A Duffy, C White; M Stevenson, E McGeown, O MacIomhair. Subs: R McQuillan for O Lappin (h-t), R Owens for Sheridan (h-t), C McGeary for McKenna (52), E English for White (52), D McQuade for R Lappin (56)

Referee: N McKenna (Monaghan)

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