Second semi-final has the makings of a real Christmas-Cracker

Fona/Cab Ulster U17 football semi-final

Donaghmore v Four Masters

St. Paul’s 1-30 Boxing Day

The second semi-final of the fona/cab Ulster Minor Football semi-final at St. Paul’s on Boxing Day has the makings of a cracker with both sides having impressed to date in their journey to the final. Four Masters, the Donegal champions have actually two games under their belt in the competition having beaten St. Molaise of Fermanagh in a preliminary round game back on the 14th of December at Colaiste Feirste.

The Donegal champions hit five goals in that one but were made to fight all the way before finally securing a 5-4 to 2-10 victory over the battling Irvinestown side. Seanan Carr led the way for Four Masters with  two goals and goals from Kevin Muldoon, Conor Meehan and substitute, Oisin Doherty saw them edge out Naomh Maloise.

This set Four Masters up for a quarter-final meeting with Scotstown last weekend at the same venue and once again the Donegal side showed great skill and character to edge out the Monaghan champions in a real thriller.

Only a point separated the sides after a great 60 plus minutes of football, The Dongal champions came from four behind to lead by five at one stage after substitute Oisin Doherty found the net, but the Armagh champions responded with an Aodhán Henderson goal but were unable to find an equaliser as Four Masters hung on for the win.

Once again Oisin Doherty came off the bench to contribute with his second goal of the tournament and McCahill (0-3), Meehan (0-4), McCrea (0-2) and Carr all on target for the Donegal side as they ran out 1-10 to 1-9 winners to set up a semi-final meeting with Donnaghmore.

The high standard of football that has been a feature of the St. Paul’s tournament continued last Saturday when Tyrone champions, Donnaghmore recorded a fine 1-12 to 1-9 victory over Scotstown with Colaiste Feirste again the venue.

Noah Grimes was in excellent form for the Tyrone side and finished the game with 0-8 with Cormac Draine’s goal edging Donaghmore 1-5 to 0-5 ahead at the break and Draine, Ronan Molloy, Aodhan Molloy and Joey Clarke all adding points apiece over the hour.

Corner forward Grimes carries a serious scoring threat for Donnaghmore but they are a well-balanced side throughout with Ben Hughes, Joey Clarke, Johnny McKenna, Conor O’Neill, Cormac Draine and the Molloys all strong performers.

Four Masters have impressed themselves and will be confident going into this semi-final, the first game for both sides at Shaw’s Road with both sides having reached this stage via the 4G surface at Colaiste Feirste but that shouldn’t prove too much of a problem for either team.

Seanan Carr has been in good form for the Donegal champions and with Kevin Muldoon and Conor Meehan carry a real threat in attack while O’Donnell and Monaghan anchor a strong defence with Bell and Graham both combative at mid-field.

This one looks hard to call and indeed it could take extra-time to separate what looks like two well-matched sides but I will give a tentative nod to Donaghmore to advance to a St Stephen’s Day final against Dungiven.

Donaghmore v Scotstown: Conan McGarvey, Conaill McGee, Ben Hughes, Jude McNally, Rory McGee, Joey Clarke, Joseph Kelly, Johnny McKenna, Conor O’Neill, Aodhan Molloy, Cormac Draine, Conall Herron, Noah Grimes, Ronan Molloy, James McCann

Subs: Ryan McAteer, Ronan McGeary, Caolan Quinn, Ciaran Hackett, Michael Logan

Four Masters v Clann na Gael: D McGinty; T Colhoun, F O’Donnell, T McGovern; T Carr, D Monaghan, C Sweeney; J Bell, J Graham; C McCahill S Carr K Muldoon; C Meehan D Quinn, C McCrea .

Subs: D McIntyre for D Quinn O Doherty for C Meehan L McNamee for K Muldoon T McBride for C Sweeney.

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