Donegal minors claim Ulster title with impressive win

Donegal 2-12 Armagh 0-10

Donegal minors claim Ulster title with impressive win

Donegal 2-12 Armagh 0-10

Donegal routed Armagh to win their first Ulster Minor Football Championship since 2006.

Provincial champions for the sixth time, the lads from Tir Chonail go through to the All-Ireland quarter-finals as title-holders, but the Orchard will be there as well, qualifying also as beaten finalists.

Donegal were ten points to the good inside the opening 20 minutes, Armagh having failed to score during that punishing spell.

Jamie Brennan, Lorcan Connor and Stephen McBrearty slotted over early scores, and with midfielder Caolan McGonagle and wing forward Miceal Carroll providing protection to the defence, they made themselves difficult to break down.

In the 14th minute the men from the north-west struck a significant blow when Carroll’s pass sent full forward John Campbell in to blast the ball to the roof of the net.

He almost had a second goal when McGonigle provided the assist for Campbell to fire in a shot which goalkeeper Ryan Kearney saved.

McGonagle slotted over the resultant ’45, and points from McBrearty and Campbell made it 1-7 to no score, before Oisin O’Neill steered over Armagh’s first point in the 21st minute.

At the halfway stage, it was 1-9 to 0-2, and it looked like it was going to get a whole lot worse for the Orchard when goalkeeper Ryan Kearney conceded a penalty and was further punished by a black card.

However, Colm Rafferty came off the bench to save Connor’s kick with a dramatic first touch.

They narrowed the gap with a couple of Ryan Hughes points, before another Donegal flourish saw them open up an 11 points advantage.

But, Armagh were much more competitive as the second half wore on, and created two genuine goal chances. First O’Neill brought a fine save from Danny Rodgers, then Conor McNicholl saw his effort come back off a post.

Substitute Conor Cullen slotted over a couple of points and two superb efforts from Hughes kept Armagh very much in the hunt as they whittled back the deficit to five points.

It was Jamie Brennan who sealed the win for Donegal when he punched Gavin McBride’s delivery to the net deep into stoppage time.

Armagh: R Kearney, F Quinn, A Rushe, C Donnelly, C Boylan, C McKinney, C McNicholl, J Og Burns, S Conlon, J Rafferty, O O’Neill (0-3, 1f), K Mallon, R Hughes (0-4, 1f), C Grimley, C McConville.

Subs: C Cullen (0-3) for Boylan (BC), C Rafferty for Kearney (BC), R McKeown for Grimley, C Murphy for Conlon

Donegal: D Rodgers, D McMonagle, C Gillespie, C Kelly, C Mulligan, T McClenaghan, A McClean, N Harley, C McGonigle (0-1, ’45), E Ban Gallagher, L Connor (0-4, 2f), M Carroll (0-1), J Brennan (1-1), J Campbell (1-2, 0-1f), S McBrearty (0-3).

Subs: N Friel for Mulligan, E O’Donnell for Campbell, C Doherty for Harley, C Bonner for McClean, C O’Boyle for O’Donnell (BC), G McBride for Connor

Referee: R Barry (Down).

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