Donegal overcome red card to set up Allianz NHL 2B final date with Meath

Donegal 0-17 Wicklow 0-16

Fourteen-man Donegal held out for a one-point victory over Wicklow at Echelon Park, Aughrim on Saturday to advance to take on Meath in the Allianz Hurling League 2B final.

Minutes into the second half Donegal lost their centre forward Ronan McDermott to a second yellow card but they dug in deep to fend off a late rally by Wicklow in search of an equaliser

Donegal had had a brilliant defender throughout in half-back Jack O’Loughlin and he hurled defiance at Wicklow throughout, while wing forward Liam McKinney kept the score board ticking, never allowing Wicklow to get their nose in front at any stage of the game.

Within the wind behind them in the first half Donegal led by double scores at the break with sharpshooter and free-taker McKinney claiming half the points from placed balls.

Twice Wicklow levelled with Christy Moorehouse and Seanie Germaine answering scores to Daire Ó Maoileidigh and McKinney’s openers for the northerners.

Wicklow missed the steadying influence of the hamstring injured John Henderson, whereas Jack O’Loughlin at the other end was playing a stormer in the halfback line for Donegal and Ronan McDermott and Richie Ryan were showing strongly in support of McKinney.

Andy O’Brien came off the bench for Wicklow, scored two points and nearly pilfered a goal but he was thwarted by Donegal keeper Luke White who pushed the ball around the post for a 65.

Wicklow narrowed the gap in the second half to one point and Christy Moorehouse and Mikey Lee had chances of levelling the match but they posted costly wides at the death.

Scored – Donegal: L McKinney 0-10 (9f and 65), B McIntyre 0-2, J O’Loughlin, C Bradley, R Campbell, R Ryan, R McDermott 0-1 each. Wicklow: C Moorehouse 0-8 (7f and 65), Andy O’Brien 0-2, M O’Brien, P Doran, D Masterson, E McCormack, S Germaine, M Lee 0-1 each.

Wicklow: C McNally 6 , B Kearney, 7, A Kavanagh,6, M O’Brien 6, P Doran 6, P Doyle6, S O’Dowd,6 L Maloney,6, D Masterson 6, D Staunton 7, E McCormack, 6, D Maloney,6 C Moorenouse,7, G Weir, 6, S Germaine 6. Subs: M Murphy 6 for D Maloney, A O’Brien 6 for P Doyle, M Lee 7 for G Weir, E Byrne 6 for D Masterson.

Donegal: L White 6, S McBride 6, M Donoghue,7, P Doherty7, C McDermott 7, R Hilferty 7, J O’Loughlin 8 B McIntyre 6, C Bradley,6 L McKinney, 8, R McDermott 6, S Ward, D Maoileidigh 6, R Ryan 7, R Campbell 6. Subs: O Marley 6 for S Ward, C O’Grady 6, for C McDermott, P Nelson 6, for R Campbell

Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).