Donegal took a giant step towards retaining their provincial title when they outclassed Armagh at the Athletic Grounds last night to secure their place in the semi-finals.
Apart from a brief spell at the start of the game, during which they missed a string of scoring opportunities, Armagh were never in the hunt against their well-drilled, superbly-fit opponents, who played with cohesion and flair throughout.
They led by 0-8 to 0-3 at the break, and engaged overdrive in the second half to leave their hosts sagging against the ropes.
A Naoise O Baoill goal in the 36th minute spelt the beginning of the end for the Orchard County and when Daire O Baoill tucked away the visitors’ second in the 56th minute, it merely confirmed their overall superiority.
Conor Doherty landed seven points from frees and play, skipper Michael Carroll was inspirational at midfield and Stephen McMenamin proved a defensive anchor as Declan Bonner’s side marched relentlessly onwards.
“Armagh gave us problems in the early stages, but after we got our first goal, I thought we settled down and played some good football.
“We nowface into a tough semi-final, we will be stepping up our work on the training ground,” said Bonner.
Scorers – Donegal: C Doherty 0-7 (5fs), E O’Donnell 0-4 (3fs), D O’Baoill, N OBaoill 1-0 each, R Carr 0-2, M Carroll. Armagh: O O’Neill 0-4 (1f), C O’Neill, P Quinn, A Boyle 0-1 each.
armagh – C Donaghy; D KLoye, B McCambridge, R Owens; C Boylan, C Murphy, C O’Neill0-1; P Quinn0-1, J Og Burns; R O’Neill, M McCabe, O O’Neill 0-4 (1f); C Magill, T O’Hare, A Boyle 0-1. Subs: C Grimley for Magill (h/t), J Duffy for O’Kane (40), S Conaty for Boyle (42), R Gaskin for Owens (42), S Morris for Quinn (45), L Doyle for R O’Neill 56.
donegal – D Rodgers; G McFadden, S McMenamin, P Doherty; B McCole, J McGee, E O’Donnell 0-4 (3f); R Carr(0-2), M Carroll(0-1); C Doherty0-7 (5f), M Langan, D O’Baoill1-0; P McNern, N O Baoill1-10, N O’Donnell. Subs: K Barrett for N O’Donneelll (46), S Ferry for P Doherty (50), E McGettigan for N O’Baoill (52), N Gavigan for Carr, B Curran for E O’Donnell (both 57), J R Molloy for D O’Baoill (58).
Ref – Anthony Marron (Monaghan).