Donegal put paid to a spirited Shannon Blues junior team that featured 5 American Born players in the side in the second of the junior A semi-finals. The Blues had come through as winners of the A2 section, and really should have got more out of their first half performance. Playing very well, the Blues conceded a goal after turning the ball over when coming out of defence, and trailed at the break. Donegal started the second half with three points on the trot and after a Christy Bell goal mid way through the half , the northerners always looked like winning the game.
|Conor Fitzgerald readies a shot.|
The Blues will have been kicking themselves not to have held the lead at the break. Holding a six points to three lead the Blues made the clinical error of giving the ball away coming out of defence, and the dangerous Davitt Walsh at corner forward capitalized with a goal. There was about 20 minutes gone in the game at that point. Shortly afterwards Walsh had to leave the field after sustaining a severe shoulder injury. The Blues had been playing well up to that point. James Feeney played a leaders role at center forward, and getting the ball into the hands of corner forward Owen Walsh was the key to the Blues success. Walsh had accounted for 3 of the Blues points, one from a free. Paul McNulty though had an excellent first 30 minutes at corner back for Donegal and on more than a couple of occasions disrupted promising looking Blues attacks deep in the Donegal half. The tide started to turn in Donegal's favour somewhat as the half time whistle approached. Two Christy McLaughlin points before the whistle had Donegal in a 1-6 to 0-7 lead at the break.
|Donegal's Paddy Wanish McLaughlin and Pat Murray.|
The Blues worked hard to try and swing the game back in their favour in the second half, but gave the ball away needlessly on too many occasions. Donegal hit with 3 quick points after the restart to build a 5 point lead. The Blues came back with 2 points from Walsh and Conor Fitzgerald, and nearly had a goal but Sean Black saved well at the feet of Owen Walsh. The Blues had another chance to level the game after Tommy Hernon worked hard to get the ball across the face of goal, but there was no Blues man there to finish the job. Donegal hit with goal number 2 right after that chance, Christy Bell went on a trademark run and buried the shot from inside the 21. Donegal were now in the drivers seat. The sides traded points coming up to the final whistle. Dean Kelly put a couple of signature scores for Donegal. A goal was required from the Blues to have a chance, and it never came. Donegal saw out the game without looking in danger and in a repeat of last year's final will face Wolfe Tones next Sunday.
Blues: G. Henry, S. Sinnott, K. Nugent, M. Keegan, D. O'Brien, C. Sullivan, C. Mullen, P. Murray (0-2), C. Fitzgerald (0-1), J. Feeney (0-2),
O. Walsh (0-7), T. Hernon. Sub: C. Moriarty (0-2). Donegal:
S. Black, P. McNulty, N. Doherty, S. Doherty, D. McBride, P. McLaughlin
(0-7), C. Bell (1-1), D. Kelly (0-5), K. Curran, E. Doonan, M. McGinty (0-1),
C. McLaughlin, D. Walsh (1-1).
By Rory O'Donnell