Donegal 0-18 Shannon Blues 1-10
Donegal advanced to the senior football semi-final with a firey win over the Shannon Blues. It was a close game all the way to the final quarter, when Donegal’s fitness and firepower saw them over the line with a bit to spare in the end.
|Donegal Senior Footballers advance to a semi-final with Galway next Sunday.|
The teams were level at the break, although things looked brighter for Donegal heading into the second period. Towards the end of the half Conor Cox was shown a black card and the Blues lost their main scoring threat. The Blues had opened well. Ivan Parker, Cox and Damien Somers had pointed 5 times between them and Parker palmed the ball into the net after a floated ball from Cox across the box. The Blues supporters were feeling optimistic, with concern on the opposite side of the field amongst Donegal supporters.
Donegal were struggling, Paddy Bradley had several chances that went wide of the posts, but as half time approached the northerners got a grip of the game. It started with an Eoin O’Connor point, which initially was called wide, but the umpires decision was overruled and a point awarded. After the goal, the Blues started to lose their way coming out of defence, and Donegal went on to point five times on the trot with Eoin and Paddy Bradley hitting 4 between them, and Darren Kavanagh the odd one of the number. The Blues made an opening just before the break and Brian Ryal hit the crossbar, the score would have been invaluable to the Blues who needed maximum return from their chances. 1-5 to 0-8 at half time.
|Shannon Blues put up a gallant fight, but fell short against Donegal on Sunday.|
Donegal had translated their advantage into a three point lead with 15 minutes to go. Both Bradley’s provided the scoring outlet and the lions share of possession went to Donegal. The Blues had to resort to the long ball into subsitite, Paudi McCormack, but Jason Noctor was on high alert and on most occasions cleared for Donegal.
Two players got their marching orders entering the final stretch. Sean Moriarty for a strike on Eoin Bradley and Bradley presumably for retaliation. The game was slipping away for the Blues while Donegal had the speed and resources coming off the line to push home their advantage. The men from the north-west were a step ahead to the ball as the Blues challenge waned and their moves tended to peter out on the Donegal 45.
The Blues closed the game with two points from Brian Ryal, but it was goals that were needed to have any sort of hope. There were unsavory scenes at the end of the game in front of the main stand. Two Blues players were sent to the line following a fracas during which some members of the Donegal support felt the need to leap the fence on to the field. It was not the best way to end what was an exciting game overall.
Blues: E. Whelan, T. Wallace, P. O’Sullivan, C. Coffey, G. O’Cunniffe, D. McElligott, S. Moriarty, D. Somers, C. Fitzgerald, B. Ryal, M. Young, C. Cox, I. Parker.
Donegal: B. Flynn, C. Benson, J. Noctor, G. Gallagher, G. Brennan, C. Russell, R. Caldwell, T. Darmin, V. Coyle, E. Bradley, E. O’Connor, P. Bradley, D. Kavanagh.
By Rory O'Donnell