Sunday 17 December 2017

Ulster SHC Semi-finals: McNaughton downs Donegal

Antrim 3-24 Donegal 1-10

Antrim's James McNaughton in action during the Ulster GAA Hurling Senior Championship semi-final match between Antrim and Donegal at Celtic Park in Derry. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Antrim's James McNaughton in action during the Ulster GAA Hurling Senior Championship semi-final match between Antrim and Donegal at Celtic Park in Derry. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Antrim progressed to the provincial final with a 20-point demolition of Donegal at Celtic Park on Saturday.

Despite making a number of changes to their starting line-up, the Saffrons rarely looked threatened.

Even with a 14th-minute goal from Tipperary native Davin Flynn for Donegal, Antrim held a seven-point lead at half-time without ever getting out of second gear.

A brace of goals from corner-forward James McNaughton aided the Saffrons' cause in the opening 35 minutes.

The Glensmen went through the gears at the beginning of the second half with Maol Connolly and Conor Johnston outstanding in attack.

They scored 1-6 without reply to end the Donegal challenge as the Saffrons showed their superiority in the final quarter.

Davin Flynn is closed down by Antrim's Odhran McFadden. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Davin Flynn is closed down by Antrim's Odhran McFadden. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Livewire midfielder Daniel McKernan scored Antrim's third goal with an effort from 70 yards dropping behind Donegal keeper Paul Burns.

Midfielder Lee Henderson top scored for Donegal with eight points in an energetic performance, but Antrim were too good all over the pitch and ran out comfortable winners.

The Saffrons now face Armagh in the Ulster final on April 16. Antrim are expected to be back to full strength as they seek a 16th consecutive Liam Harvey Cup.

Scorers - Antrim: M Connolly 0-10 (4fs, 3 '65's), J McNaughton 2-0, D McKernan 1-2, C Johnston 0-5, N McKenna 0-4, P Burke, P McGill, C McCann 0-1 each. Donegal: L Henderson 0-8 (7fs), D Flynn 1-1, D Cullen 0-1.

Danny Cullen in possession for Donegal. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Danny Cullen in possession for Donegal. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Antrim - R Elliott; R Diamond, P Burke, C Johnston; S McCrory, O McFadden, J Maskey; D McKernan, P McGill; M Connolly, C McCann, N McKenna; J McNaughton, C Carson, C Johnston. Sub: S Rooney for S McCrory (39).

Donegal - P Burns; D Grant, J Donnelly, P Doherty; J Boyle, C McDermott, C Flynn; D Cullen, L Henderson; G Gilmore, C Melaugh, S Curran; S Gillespie, N Cleary, D Flynn. Subs: A Stokes for C Flynn (29); C Doherty for S Gillespie (60); R Kee for C Melaugh (65)

Ref - J Clarke (Cavan).

Antrim's Niall McKenna and Donegal's Joe Boyle battle for possession. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Antrim's Niall McKenna and Donegal's Joe Boyle battle for possession. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Lee Henderson attempts to block a shot from Antrim's Daniel McKernan. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Lee Henderson attempts to block a shot from Antrim's Daniel McKernan. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Irish Independent

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