Ulster SFC: McLoone goal downs Derry

May 25, 2014

Donegal's Paddy McBrearty gets away from Dermot McBride of Derry.
©INPHO/Cathal Noonan.
Donegal fired 1-7 in the second half to defeat Derry by 1-11 to 0-11 in a dour struggle at Celtic Park.

With 15,883 spectators looking on in fairly miserable weather conditions, the 2012 All-Ireland winners dominated the third quarter, with Michael Murphy outstanding during that decisive spell. The winners will now face either Antrim or Fermanagh for a place in this year's Ulster decider.

At the end of a first half punctuated by some dreadful shooting at both ends, Brian McIver's charges led by 0-6 to 0-4.

As is now customary, both managers made late changes to their starting XVs, with Paddy McGrath and teenage Leaving Cert student Darach O'Connor replacing midfielders Neil Gallagher and Martin McElhinney in the Donegal XV while Emmet Bradley came in for Benny Heron in the Oak Leaf attack.

Captain Mark Lynch thumped the hosts into the lead with an excellent free from the hands on five minutes. At the other end, Murphy's free from the ground rebounded to safety off the left upright. Debutant O'Connor showed his pace as he skinned the Derry defence to smack over an opening point for the Tir Chonail men after eight minutes.

On ten minutes, Patrick McBrearty became the second Donegal player to strike the left upright and the young corner forward then scuffed a glorious goalscoring opportunity off the outside of his left boot after roaming wing back Anthony Thompson had recycled possession brilliantly and put it on a plate for the U21 star.

Another Lynch free restored Derry's lead twelve minutes in but Christy Toye equalised at the midway stage in the first half after the beaten Division One finalists had lost influential midfielder Fergal Doherty to injury. Emmet Bradley and corner back Karl Lacey traded points to leave the sides deadlocked on three points apiece after 20 minutes.

Substitute Niall Holly, who had replaced Doherty, smacked over an excellent lead point for the home team and Bradley's exquisite free put two between the sides for the first time with ten minutes left before the short whistle.

Ciaran McFaul's excellent point made it double scores two minutes from the break; meanwhile, McBrearty had dropped two shots short into goalkeeper Thomas Mallon's hands. Patsy Bradley's foul on McGrath presented Murphy with an injury-time free and this time the 2012 All-Ireland winning captain made no mistake with a leisurely strike - Donegal's first score in 16 minutes.

Trailing by two points and with wind advantage to come, Donegal introduced McElhinney for the second half. And they got off to an ideal (re)start when Thompson stole forward to kick their fifth point just 30 seconds after the resumption.

Donegal took the lead for the first time in the 39th minute when wing backs Frank McGlynn and Leo McLoone combined before the latter calmly slotted his close-range left-footed shot past Mallon to the back of the Derry net. Murphy followed up with a thumping point to make it 1-6 to 0-6 after 40 minutes.

Murphy then drilled over a sublime point from a line ball on the right off the outside of that magical right boot and the rampant visitors, who would register 1-5 without reply, introduced Gallagher for the last 28 minutes.

McBrearty blazed a goal chance over the bar after Murphy had won and converted a close-range free. A converted Lynch free on 50 minutes was Derry's first score of the second half and substitute Heron followed up with a nice long-range point from play: 1-9 to 0-8 with 53 minutes now played.

Twelve minutes from the end, Emmet Bradley (free) slotted the Oak Leafers' third successive point to leave just the goal between the teams

After McElhinney's point had steadied the Donegal ship, Derry replied with efforts from Heron ('45') and Lynch to leave just two between the teams going into the final five minutes.

McLoone's superb 70th-minute point at the end of a patient Donegal build-up sealed it for Jim McGuinness' team and the Qualifier-bound losers had substitute James Kielt dismissed in injury time when he picked up a black card to add to his earlier yellow.

Donegal - P Durcan; E McGee, N McGee, P McGrath; F McGlynn, K Lacey (0-1), A Thompson (0-1); C Toye (0-1), O MacNiallais; L McLoone (1-1), R McHugh, D O'Connor (0-1); P McBrearty (0-1), M Murphy (0-4, 2f), C McFadden. Subs: M McElhinney (0-1) for C Toye, N Gallagher for D O'Connor, David Walsh for O MacNiallais, L Keaney for P McBrearty, D Molloy for C McFadden.

Derry - T Mallon; D McBride, G McKinless, C McKaigue; K Johnston, G O'Kane, SL McGoldrick; F Doherty, P Bradley; C McFaul (0-1), M Lynch (0-4, 3f), E Bradley (0-3, 2f); E Lynn, E McGuckin, C O'Boyle. Subs: N Holly (0-1) for F Doherty, R Bell for C O'Boyle, B Heron (0-2, 1'45) for N Holly, O Duffy for K Johnston, J Kielt for E McGuckin, C McGoldrick for E Bradley.

Referee - J McQuillan.

Most Read Stories