Semi-finalists confirmed in Dr McKenna Cup

Monaghan progressed to the Power NI Dr. McKenna Cup semi-finals as Section A winners after ending Fermanagh's early season unbeaten run.

The Farney men posted a 1-12 to 0-7 victory in tonight's meeting of Section A's top two sides, with Fermanagh also reaching the last-four as the competition's best runners-up.

Monaghan will face Down, who topped Section B, in the semi-finals on Sunday afternoon, while Fermanagh will go up against Section C winners Tyrone.

In Inniskeen, Malachy O'Rourke's charges built a 0-5 to 0-2 half-time lead with Owen Duffy accounting for four of their points.

Monaghan came under pressure when Paul Ward, the scorer of Fermanagh's first half brace, landed two more points to reduce the margin to the minimum.

But the hosts found another gear and a late goal from Dermot Malone sealed their third straight win of the Ulster competition. They were also boosted by points from Fintan Kelly, Dick Clerkin, Kieran Hughes, Shane McQuillan and Paul Finlay.

Donegal opened their win account for the 2013 campaign as they held off St. Mary's for a 1-14 to 2-10 triumph in Ballybofey.

The All-Ireland champions lined out with 11 Under-21 players in their starting line-up and had to come from behind against the fired-up students.

The Ranch were inspired by the scoring abilities of Antrim's Brendan Herron who finished the first half with 1-4. Ronan Sexton from Down followed up with a second goal which gave the visitors a 2-5 to 1-7 advantage at the break.

Odhran Mac Niallais was Donegal's goal scorer on the night, and Jim McGuinness' young side had to dig deep as they recovered from a three-point deficit.

Well-taken points from John O'Malley, Shaun McGarvey, Luke Kearney and Conor Gibbons got them back on track.

St. Mary's still held a narrow lead in the dying minutes but Ross Wherity squared things up and then a pointed free from Gibbons edged Donegal home.

Meanwhile, having slipped up against Leitrim, Mayo were able to bounce back to winning ways against GMIT at Flanagan Park in Ballinrobe.

James Horan's men ran out 2-14 to 0-6 winners of tonight's Connacht FBD League clash with Richie Feeney, who was positioned in attack, scoring 1-1.

His well-struck goal helped the Connacht champions take a 1-9 to 0-2 half-time lead and Conor O'Shea palmed home a Lee Keegan pass for the second goal.

O'Shea finished with a 1-1 tally and free-taker Alan Freeman (0-6) and Keegan (0-3) also impressed in front of goal for Horan's side. Debutant James O'Shaughnessy came off the bench to score a point.

Eric Monaghan, John Ryan and Mayo natives Fergal Durkin and Aidan Walsh registered GMIT's four points during the second period.

Tyrone completed the McKenna Cup group stages with their third victory on the trot, a 1-18 to 0-9 success at home to UUJ.

Former Footballer of the Year Sean Cavanagh starred in the opening half at Omagh, accumulating a goal and three points as the Red Hands established a 1-9 to 0-7 interval lead.

Newtownstewart's Kevin Gallagher, who recently made his debut in the Tyrone half-forward line, turned in a man-of-the-match display as he continued his development at this level.

Cavanagh added two more points before he was replaced. Richard Donnelly led the scoring charge for Jordanstown side that included six Tyrone men.

Semi-final qualifiers Down finished top of the pile in Section B by defeating Armagh 2-11 to 1-10 at Páirc Esler.

Kevin McKernan (1-0) and Paul McComiskey (1-5, 0-2f) scored a goal in each half for the Mourne men in front of a 2,529-strong crowd.

Corner forward McComiskey took centre stage early on with three points from play in the opening 12 minutes. McKernan, driving forward from centre-field, fisted home his goal with 20 minutes gone.

The second goal in the 47th minute was created by a surging run and unselfish pass from Benny Coulter, as McComiskey pushed the game beyond Armagh's reach.

The Orchard men were 1-7 to 0-4 adrift at the break, but were more competitive after that with Stefan Forker scoring 0-6 and corner back Gary McCooey netting in the closing stages.

Derry and Antrim played out a 1-13 to 1-13 draw at Celtic Park as both counties missed out on qualification for the semi-finals.

The stalemate saw both sides finish on three points apiece in Section C, with Section A team Fermanagh (four points) claiming the best runners-up spot.

The Saffrons lost their grip on a 1-10 to 0-5 lead. James Lavery scored a scrappy goal for them during a period when they shot a very impressive 1-8 without reply.

James Kielt and Daniel Heavron got the home side firing again, and the latter's 58th-minute goal reduced the arrears to a single point.

Enda Lynn got the Oak Leafers back on terms before John Carron of Antrim and Gerard O'Kane exchanged late points as the scores dried up in injury-time.

Derry thought they had forced a penalty when Colin Devlin went down, but play continued and the match officials had to separate a number of players after the final whistle as this entertaining game ended on a sour note.

TONIGHT'S FOOTBALL RESULTS:

CONNACHT FBD LEAGUE SECTION B -

Mayo 2-14 GMIT 0-6, Flanagan Park

POWER NI DR MCKENNA CUP GROUP STAGES -

SECTION A:

Donegal 1-14 St. Mary's 2-10, MacCumhaill Park

Monaghan 1-12 Fermanagh 0-7, Inniskeen

SECTION B:

Down 2-11 Armagh 1-10, Pairc Esler

SECTION C:

Tyrone 1-18 UUJ 0-9, Healy Park

Derry 1-13 Antrim 1-13, Celtic Park


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