Penalty heartbreak for Antrim as flawless Donegal survive on home soil to advance in Ulster U-20 competition

Ulster U-20 FC: Donegal 0-15 Antrim 0-15 (Donegal win 5-4 on penalties)

Donegal U-20 manager Leo McLoone. Photo: Sportsfile

Chris McNulty

The night was late when Donegal finally squeezed past Antrim to book a place in the Ulster Under-20 semi-finals.

Leo McLoone's men had to endure a penalty shoot-out, but they were flawless, with Blake McGarvey, Shaun Ward, David Boyle and Daniel Marley converting.

Goalkeeper Aaron Cullen saved from Eoin Gough to tee up the win, sealed when Marley found the bottom corner

Ward fired three points in the second half of extra-time, a 13-metre free right at the death – the eighth time the teams were level – to bring the tie from the burning embers for Donegal, who kicked 17 wides over the 70 preceding minutes.

In normal time, Donegal were 0-7 to 0-5 behind when a pair of David Boyle frees brought them back onto a level footing 12 minutes from the end.

Ryan McQuillan's brace swung the pendulum, but Christy Mulligan arrowed over an added-time equaliser for Donegal.

Moments earlier, Boyle, picked out by the quick-thinking Ward, might have nicked it for Donegal with three minutes to go, but ’keeper Shea Laverty repelled the shot.

Antrim refused to wilt, after Conor O'Neill and McGarvey put Donegal two up in the extra period.

Niall Jackman's side clipped four-in-a-row, McQuillan and Conhuir Johnson each landing two, for a 0-13 to 0-11 advantage at half-time in extra-time.

Antrim had been down to 14 men when Gough was black-carded just three minutes into the second half but, spurred by McQuillan, they were 0-7 to 0-5 ahead by the time the corner back returned to the fold.

Scorers – Donegal: D Boyle (5f) 0-7; S Ward (2f, 1 '45) 0-3; C O'Neill (1f), B McGarvey 0-2 each; C Mulligan 0-1. Antrim: R McQuillan (4f) 0-8; C Johnson (1f) 0-2; C Hand, E Quinn, R McKillop, N Fallon. C Higgins 0-1 each.

Donegal - A Cullen; S Doherty, F Doherty, D Gallagher; C McMenamin, K Murray, K McGee; C Mulligan, L McGranaghan; D Boyle, S Ward, O Caulfield; C Rooney, K Lynch, B McGarvey. Subs: C O'Neill for Rooney (h-t), D Marley for McGranaghan (42), D Gildea for Lynch (51), C Reid for McMenamin (69), O Crawford for Mulligan (70).

Antrim - S Laverty; E Gough, D McNicholl, C Donnelly; T McCormick, C Johnston, P Ferris; E Quinn, C Hand; C Higgins, T Shivers, R McKillop; N Fallon, R McQuillan, B Kelly. Subs: C Johnson for Shivers (h-t), C McGill for Hand (38), C McAleese for Kelly (46), N Duffy for McKillop (60), C Hand for Ferris (68), B Kelly for McAleese (70), R McKillop for Higgins (80).

Ref - E Mallon (Armagh).