Donegal’s superior experience was the difference as they wore down Cork to qualify for an All-Ireland quarter-final against Dublin next Saturday writes John Fogarty.
Paddy McBrearty was excellent with 11 points as were his Kilcar club-mates Ryan and Eoin McHugh throughout although it was the introduction of substitutes Leo McLoone, Christy Toye and Mark McHugh, which really turned the tide in Donegal’s favour in the final quarter.
Donegal didn’t go ahead in the second half until the 66th minute via a Michael Murphy free but then Cork didn’t manage a score between the 51st minute and the sixth minute of additional time.
Cork were more eager at the outset and were punishing Donegal from kick-outs. They led by two points on four occasions inside the opening 15 minutes before Cork’s 17th minute goal.
Tomás Clancy was allowed to run unchecked down the left wing from a quick free. The ball was delivered inside to captain Paul Kerrigan who found the roof of the net.
It was a deserving score for the team with most endeavour and impetus at that juncture of the game although seven of the next eight scores came from Donegal. Paddy McBrearty was giving an exhibition in finishing and fired over three of them.
A Kevin O’Driscoll point momentarily broke Donegal’s run but they then added four points in as many minutes to go ahead in the 32nd minute.
Cork did finish the half the better, Tom Clancy adding his second point followed by a fine Donncha O’Connor score, which ensured they went in 1-9 to 0-11 ahead at the break. Neil McGee also pulled off a great block on Ian Maguire who looked set to add his second goal in as many games.
Scorers for Donegal: P. McBrearty (0-11, 0-4 frees); R. McHugh (0-3); E. McHugh, M. Murphy (1 free) (0-2 each); K. Lacey, F. McGlynn, Ó Mac Niallais (0-1 each).
Scorers for Cork: P. Kerrigan (1-1); Tom Clancy, K. O’Driscoll, D. O’Connor, C. O’Driscoll (0-2 each); S. Powter, M. Collins, A. Walsh, Tomás Clancy, Colm O’Neill (free) (0-1 each).
DONEGAL: M.A. McGinley; N. McGee, É. McGee, P. McGrath; A. Thompson; K. Lacey, F. McGlynn, M. O’Reilly; R. Kavanagh, Ó Mac Niallais; E. McHugh, M. McElhinney, R. McHugh; P. McBrearty, M. Murphy.
Subs for Donegal: C. Gillespie for É. McGee (43); L. McLoone for R. Kavanagh (46); C. Toye for A. Thompson (55); M. McHugh for F. McGlynn (61); E. Doherty for N. McGee (69); H. McFadden for M. McElhinney (70+1). Black card: P. McBrearty (70+6).
CORK: R. Price; E. Cadogan, Tom Clancy (Clonakilty); S. Cronin; C. O’Driscoll, Tomás Clancy (Fermoy), K. O’Driscoll; A. O’Connor, I Maguire; S. Powter; M. Collins, M. Hurley; P. Kerrigan, P. Kelleher, D. O’Connor.
Subs for Cork: A. Walsh for A. O’Connor (inj 35+1); P. Kelly for P. Kelleher (42); C. O’Neill for D. O’Connor (47); B. O’Driscoll for Tom Clancy (inj 48); J. O’Rourke for K. O’Driscoll (62); A. Cadogan for S. Powter (69).
Referee: P. Neilan (Roscommon).