Sunday 21 January 2018

Second-half surge sees Donegal end long title wait

Donegal 2-12 Antrim 1-5 Ulster MFC final A COMMITTED second-half performance saw Donegal lift their first Ulster minor title in 10 years at Croke Park yesterday.

It didn't look good for them when they trailed by 1-3 to 0-2 after 15 minutes, with Antrim's midfield on top and Conor McGourty a real threat up front.

McGourty had scored 1-2 - the goal from a 45m free - before he was forced off in the 23rd minute. The substitution saw Donegal hit back with a Martin McElhinney goal to go in at the break a point ahead 1-4 to 1-3.

They stretched that lead to three points early in the second half with points from man of the match, Paul McGinley and captain Eoin Waide. But Antrim fought back with points from Aaron Thompson (free) and Conor Murray, however their challenge had faded by the three-quarter mark.

It was only in the final quarter that Donegal really hit their stride and they finished very well with a string of points from Dara Gallagher, Ross Wherity and another from Waide.

Michael Murphy then sent over a glorious point from 45 metres and, near the end, Martin McElhinney added a second goal.

SCORERS - Donegal: M McElhinney 2-0; E Waide 0-3; M Murphy 0-3; D Molloy 0-3 (2f); D Gallagher, R Wherity, P McGinley 0-1 each. Antrim: C McGourty 1-2 (1f); A Thompson 0-2 (1f); C Murray 0-1.

DONEGAL - L McFadden; D Walsh, S Boyle, M McGowan; P McGinley, L McLoone, P Thornton; R Wherity, M Murphy; M McElhinney, D Molloy, E Waide; B Faherty, G Ward, D Gallagher. SUBS - De McGarvey for Ward; B Shovlin for Wherity; J Carroll for Faherty.

ANTRIM - D Lynch; P Lowe, G Crossey, D Harbinson; D Hanna, J Crozier, A Gribben; G McCann, S Burke; M Sweeney, C Murray, T Aldwell; C McGourty, S O'Neill, A Thompson. SUBS - B Neeson for McGourty; D Cummings for Sweeney; C McGourty for Aldwell; K McBride for Gribben; D McCann for Thompson.

REFEREE - B Toland (Derry).

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