Antrim ouclassed by Donegal

Electric Ireland Ulster Minor Football Championship

Preliminary Round

Donegal 4-22 Antrim 0-8

By Paul McIntyre

Antrim were no match for their Donegal counterparts in Ballybofey on Wednesday evening’s Ulster Minor Football Championship. Luke Barrett’s outfit simply blew the young Saffron’s away with a powerful display of running football. Their cause wasn’t helped by first half injuries to Tom Shivers and captain Connor Hastings, but the signs were from early doors that this was going to be a long evening long before Paddy McElwee claimed the games first goal in first half injury time.

It was a tough night at the office for Seamus Hastings side as the boys in green and gold ran at the Antrim defence from all areas and picked off scores at will.

In the second minute Shivers had equalised after Conor McGinty put the home side in front, but that’s as good as it got as Donegal squeezed up on Antrim at every opportunity. The much more physically imposing Donegal side forced turn over after turnover and by the waterbreak they lead 0-7 to 0-2.

Things improved slightly after the break in play and Sean Byrne’s delightful pass picked an unmarked Niall Fallon, but he delayed his shot and Aaron Cullen in the home goal made a fine stop to deny Antrim a gateway back into the contest.

Antrim’s Tiernan McCormick in action against Donegal’s Cathal McGeever during Wednesday evening’s Ulster MFC game in Ballybofey

Diarmuid Rogan and a Jonny Hannon free were keeping Antrim within touching distance but in first half stoppage time came Donegal’s first goal when Daniel Marley picked out McElwee and a mazy run.

There was still time for another Rogan point and at the break Donegal led 1-10 to 0-6.

Substitute Ethan Friel opened the scoring in the second half before McElwee claimed his second major score of the evening when he finished to the net after Padraig Linton denied Conor Reid.

Either side of Michael Callaghan scoring Donegal’s third goal in the 43rd minute, Callum Walsh picked up two yellow cards which saw Antrim play out the last 16 minutes a man down.

The Antrim heads were down now and Donegal were able to pick off scores at will. Callaghan, McElwee and Luke McGlynn all added to their tallies before Paudie Gowdy opened Antrim’s second half account from a free in the 54th minute.

Niall Fallon’s shot for goal is blocked by Donegal goalkeeper Aaron Cullen

Sean Byrne completed Antrim’s scoring in the 58th minute before Kevin McCormick finished off the scoring for Donegal with a fisted goal in injury time.

Donegal now move on to a quarter-final against Monaghan.

Teams & Scorers:

Donegal: Aaron Cullen, Donal Gallagher, Cormac Gallagher, Karl McGee, Sean Martin, Eoghan Kelly, Oisin Caulfield, Sean Ward (0-2 0-1f), Conor Reid (0-2), Cathal McGeever, Kevin McCormick (1-5), Conor McGinty (0-1), Daniel Marley (0-1), Paddy McElwee (2-2), Luke McGlynn (0-5 0-3f).

Subs: Ethan Friel (0-1) for Kelly (HT), Michael Callaghan (1-3 0-1 Mark) for Marley (41), James Doherty for D Gallagher (47), Gary Kelly for Reid (47) Karl Joseph Molloy for McElwee (50).

Referee: Mr Enda Mallon (Armagh)

Antrim: Padraig Linton, Ciaran Magennis, Cahir Donnelly, Fintan O’Boyle, Tiernan McCormack, Diarmuid Rogan (0-2), Callum Walsh, Paudie Gowdy (0-1f), Sean Murray, Shay O’Neill, Connor Hastings (0-1f), Jonny Hannon (0-1f), Sean Byrne (0-2f), Niall Fallon, Tom Shivers (0-1).

Subs: Eoghan Campbell for Shivers (8), Eamon Carey for Hastings (27), James Gorman for McCormack (HT), Garric Mac Adhaimh for Rogan (52), Niall Finnegan for Hannon (55).

The Antrim team stand for a minute’s silence in memory of Monaghan U20 captain Oggie O’Duffy who tragically lost his life on the way home from last week’s Ulster U20 Championship win over Donegal.

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