Donegal crowned Kings of Ulster

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Updated: July 17, 2011

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Donegal 1-11 (14) v 0-08 Derry
Full time

Commentary:
Full time Donegal are once again the Kings of Ulster, it has taken them 19 years to get back to the top but they have been impressive today. Derry missed the presence of the Bradley brothers and had no answer to the strength of Michael Murphy up front, the key moment the penalty decision early in the second half which Murphy won and scored. Derry only scored 3 points in the second half and will no doubt look at the number of wides they accrued today. However, they are not out of it yet and despite losing the Ulster title, they will be back again against Kildare playing a place in the All Ireland Quarter finals.

Full time: Its all over and Donegal are the 2011 Ulster Champions
Added time McFadden, who like Murphy, has been impressive today, scores a fine point his 4th of the day
Added time there will be 3 minutes
70min We’re into added time now, James Kielt adds another Derry point, a third of the half
68min Free to Derry, McCloskey wins it – its a high ball in but superbly taken by Donegal
68min We said it coming into the game that the Donegal defence would be key and they have done well to restrict Derry today
67min 6 points it in with 3 minutes to go, there will be a lot of added time though.
66min The patience pays off as Hegarty gets a point, is it 4th time lucky for Hegarty, he’s lost his last 3 finals
65min Donegal are holding onto possession now
62min BIG DECISION claims for a penalty there, waved away by the ref, a high shoulder on Lacey though, he’s down
61min a lot of the talk coming into the game focused on the missing Bradley brothers and Derry have really missed them today. On the field Charlie Kielt tries an effort but it goes wide, a 10th of the day
60min 10 minutes to go Donegal are close to ending a 19 year wait for an Ulster champioship
58min Murphy gets a wonderful point, turning and shooting, lovely play – 5 points ahead now, 1-09 to 0-07
56min Kielt with a free put he puts the ball high in the air but its kept in by a Derry player
56min free out to Derry
55min McFadden with a wide from distance
53min Murphy with a wide
52min McFadden gets his 3rd point, nice free
51min Break in play as a player is down, will resume with a free to Donegal
49min Derry have come back into this, a goal now seperates the sides
46min Derry respond with a point of their own to stop the rot
45min Hegarty adds another one
44min McFadden gets a nice point his 2nd of the day, defence to attack in an instance and a point to boot
42min McBride and Murphy get booked for their roles in the flare up
40min Tensions are running now with all the player getting involved in some argy bargy, a Donegal player is down
39min GOAL murphy gets it, nice finish
38min Michael Murphy looking for his first goal in the USFC now faces Devlin from the spot
37min PENALTY!, Donegal have a big chance now for a goal, Devlin takes down Murphy, keeper gets a card
36min Muldoon hits a shoot very high and wide, a 9th wide.
36min Second half is underway again
Half time Its all to play for with nothing seperating the sides after the opening 35 minutes. Donegal made all the running in the opening 21 minutes scoring 5 points to Derry’s two, however that was the last time that Donegal fan’s would see the white flag raised as Derry came back into it with 3 unanswered points of their own to level it.
Added time Murphy misses a good chance from the free, its looked straightforward enough. Nearly 17 minutes since a last Donegal point
Added time Ball is in the back of the net but its not allowed as the ref had called for a free
Added time Muldoon its the 45 wide
Added time Gilligan was nearly through on goal – he gets the 45
35min There will be 3 minutes of added time, meanwhile both sides go close with chances but no scores
32min Kavanagh goes off for Mcilhinney, big loss for Donegal – its 12 minutes since Donegal last scored
31min Lynch hits Derry’s 7th wide, Rory Kavaghan down for Donegal injured
30min Donaghty levels it with a point off the crossbar – good work by the sub
29min Gilligan gets it and its a one point game
28min Free to Derry in nice position
27min Bateson off Donaghy on for Derry
26min Charlie Kielt gets his second point and Derry’s 3rd
24min Cassidy with a wide there, nice passage of play without ever really threatening
22min Murphy hits Donegal’s 4th wide
21min Anthony Thompson gets his 2nd point of the day
20min Ryan Bradley gets a good point for Donegal
17min free to derry decent chance here now – and it goes over for Kielt
16min a fourth wide Derry need more composure when shooting
15min Murphy gets his 1st of the day. Nice point
14min Derry hits another wide from distance, the plan to beat Donegal’s defence not working so far, a 3rd wide
13min Hegarty hits it wide from a decent position
12min Free to Derry in the middle of the park
11min Thompson puts Donegal ahead, nice break and score
10min Gilligan with a wide from distance
7min Derry are level, nice point from distance
4min First point of the day goes Donegal’s way – McFadden getting it.
2min Derry respond with a wide of their own
1min we’re underway here in Clones and already a first wide for Donegal

Preview:
Donegal and Derry will compete for the biggest prize in Ulster football at St. Tiernach’s Park, Clones on Sunday (throw in 4pm).

Donegal come into this game looking for their first Ulster championship since 1992. In the 19 years since that win over Sunday opponents Derry they have lost in five final appearances, their most recent defeat coming in 2006 at the hands of Armagh.

Derry, meanwhile, have floundered in Ulster since their last win in 1998, the last final appearance in 2000 ending in defeat by the narrowest of margins to Armagh.

That year was also the last time that the Oakleafers met Donegal in the Championship, a Joe Brolly goal separating the sides that day.

Derry come into this game without their highly influential star forward Eoin Bradley who is ruled out after scans earlier this week revealed he had suffered cruciate ligament damage, the same injury that was inflicted upon brother Paddy earlier this year.

The loss of in-form forward who scored 1-05 in the semi final over Armagh comes as a massive blow to Derry’s hopes.

Having beaten a spirited Fermanagh in their opening round, it was the 9 point victory over Armagh that saw people take more notice of John Brennan’s side.

Derry could well be the stronger force in midfield against Donegal and while taking control at midfield is normally a recipe for success without Bradley as a target man Derry may not be able to translate hard-won possession to scores.

Although Brennan’s rallying call that “we will win it for the Bradleys” could yet prove to be the mantra that will drive his Derry men to glory.

With so much at stake today, the loser’s of this clash have to pick themselves up for a quarter final clash against Kildare in just six days, you feel safety-first will be the order of the day. Donegal have been strong at the back conceding just 1-24 on their way to the final while scoring 5-30 in the process and having come through the preliminary round Donegal could be growing in confidence on the back of three straight wins.

I would expect Donegal to once again concede very little at the back. Their policy of bringing as many as 12 or 13 of their players back behind the ball to defend may not be particularly pleasing to the neutral’s eye but it has been working tremendously well for them so far so why change now.

Donegal will be relying on Colm McFadden, whose 1-8 in three games sees him as Donegal’s top scoring man and Patrick McBrearty, who has 1-4 to his name.

Sportsnewsireland.com will have live score updates on all GAA Championship matches over the summer.

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