Donegal Champions Master the first half elements

Fona/CAB Ulster Minor Football Championship Semi-Final

Four Master’s 1-08-0-05 Donaghmore

Kevin Herron reports from Pairc Naomh Pól

Four Masters booked their place in the New Year’s Day decider of the Fona/CAB Ulster Minor Football Championship after seeing off Donaghmore 1-08-0-05 in this afternoon’s semi-final clash at Pairc Naomh Pól.

On a blustery and cold St Stephen’s Day afternoon, the elements would have a major bearing on proceedings.

The Donegal Champions opted to play with the wind in the opening half and found scores easier to come by.

Daniel Quinn moved his side into the lead inside of the three minutes, taking a lay-off and popping his shot between the posts.

Donaghmore keeper Conan McGarvey would find his kick-outs difficult, the Tyrone outfit had a let-off when one of McGarvey’s kicks hung high in the air and swirled towards his goal and luckily a score wasn’t forthcoming.

However, the Donaghmore shot-stopper sent his next kick straight into the path of corner-forward Conor Meehan- who ran direct and slotted low to the corner to give his side a 1-01 to 0-00 lead.

Meehan would add a point after John Bell’s 45’ dropped short to Seanán Carr and his layoff to the corner-forward resulted in a further score.

A converted Meehan free followed before Caolan Sweeney dropped an angled shot over the bar.

Four Master’s extended their lead through Meehan’s third point of the afternoon and Donaghmore were unable to fashion a response before the break as they trailed 1-05 to 0-00 at the midway point.

The Tyrone Champions needed a quick start to the second period if they harboured any hopes of staging a second half fightback.

Cormac Drayne opened his sides account for the afternoon two minutes after the restart and momentum was with his side for the opening quarter of the half.

Drayne was involved in the next score, playing a short free to James McCann- who swung a shot between the posts.

Two further scores halved the deficit, Aodhan Molloy was upended and Drayne converted the resulting free and Noah Grimes would do likewise from the same scenario to make it 1-05-0-04 after 42 minutes.

That was as close as Donaghmore would come as Four Master’s regained control and kicked their first point of the half with 12 minutes remaining.

Callum McCrea was illegally held up on route to goal and he converted the resulting free himself.

A minute later Seanán Carr played a free short to Conor Meehan, he shot high towards the target, the ball hung in the wind and then dropped to the corner-forward – whose effort was deflected over the bar.

Noah Grimes replied with a free for Donaghmore, but the Tyrone side needed a goal to apply any sort of late pressure.

It was Four Masters would finish the afternoon scoring courtesy of a further Meehan point that brought his tally to 1-05 for the afternoon.

Dongahmore would finish the game a man light when Conor O’Neill was shown a black card for an off the ball coming together with Leo McGowan.

It had little bearing on how the closing stages would play out as Four Master’s closed out the game to book their place in the New Year’s Day decider with St. Canice, Dungiven on Sunday afternoon (1pm throw-in).

Donaghmore: C McGarvey, C Quinn, D O’Callaghan, J McNally, C McGee, R McGee, J Clarke, B Hughes, C O’Neill, A Molloy, C Drayne (0-02, 0-01f), C Herron, N Grimes (0-02f), H McQuaid, J McCann (0-01). Subs: J Kelly for N Grimes (temporary blood sub), J Kelly for D O’Callaghan (52), C Hackett for C Herron (59).

Four Masters: D McGinty, T Colhoun, F O’Donnell, T McGovern, L McGowan, D Monaghan, C Sweeney (0-01), J Bell, J Graham, C McCahill, S Carr, K Muldoon, C Meehan (1-05, 0-01f), D Quinn (0-01), C McCrea (0-01f). Subs: T Carr for D Quinn (41), O Doherty for C McCahill (54).

Referee: Brendan Toland (Lámh Dhearg)

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