Derry had a comfortable 1-8 to 0-9 victory ‘Power N.I’ Dr McKenna Cup over Donegal in Ballybofey to set up a semi-final clash with a Down side that has looked pretty impressive in their outings to date.
There were numerous changes on both sides from the teams that featured at the weekend – eight of them on the Derry side that had started against UUJ.
On a cold night in Ballybofey, spectators enjoyed a fine opening half which though hard fought throughout was never dirty. Armagh referee Padraig Hughes appeared a little over zealous blowing up for some 33 frees, awarding a penalty and issuing five yellow cards.
The penalty came within the first two minutes for a foul on Cailean O’Boyle which followed a first minute lead for the Donegal men from a Dermot Molloy free. The penalty was duly despatched to the net by Conleth Gilligan,who ended the night as top scorer on 1-3 albeit only 0-1 was from play.
Molloy – who had an excellent first point, was unlucky not to have added at least one goal, perhaps two, to his first half tally of five points.
For the Derry men, John McCamley should have done better with a 16th minute opportunity when he only had goalkeeper Mullin to beat but was way off target. A lucky escape for Donegal on that occasion.
Though the score line might suggest otherwise, this was a comfortable enough win for Derry who were always the better side after the interval – the visitors were sharper in the second half, hitting four points in 13 minutes to go two ahead and they always kept their noses in front after that to make the victory safe. Both sides will have learnt something new from this early season encounter and Derry will now look forward to that semi-final clash with Down
Scorers — Derry: C Gilligan 1-3 (1-0 pen, 2f), G O’Kane 0-3, E Brown, E McGuckin 0-1 each. Donegal: D Molloy 0-6 (4f), P McBrearty 0-2, A Thompson 0-1.