Declan Bogue reports from Brewster Park
DONEGAL HAVE TAKEN their first steps towards defending their Ulster final and will make up a mouth-watering semi-final against Tyrone on 8 June in Kingspan Breffni Park after just having too many threats all over the field for a limited Fermanagh side.
There are no secrets in Ulster football, particularly between these two teams that know each other so well and with Fermanagh manager Rory Gallagher so embedded in Donegal football. As good as their defence was for the first 55 minutes, their lack of scoring threat was always going to lead to some separation on the scoreboard.
Six points in it at the end pays testament to Donegal’s ability to shoot over the Fermanagh blanket defence, nine of their 13 scores from play coming from outside the 35 metre mark.
When Donegal went a full 18 minutes without their opening score, they had six chances prior to it that they either sent wide or dropped short.
However, a hamstring injury to Fermanagh’s Sean Quigley sustained at training midweek was to rob them of virtually their only genuine forward.
With a gap opening up after a freak bounce in front of the Fermanagh goals ended up with a fisted point from Paddy McBrearty — making his first appearance in a Donegal jersey since last year’s Ulster final — the quality shone through as the Ulster champions ran in five of the last six points of the game.
A stern examination, and they look to be in a good place again.
Scorers for Fermanagh: C Corrigan, U Kelm 0-2 each, C Jones 0-2f, R Jones, B Mulrone 0-1 each, S Quigley 0-1f
Scorers for Donegal: P McBrearty 0-5, 2f, J Brennan 0-4, M Murphy 0-2, J McGee, L McLoone, C Thompson, M Langan 0-1 each
Fermanagh: J McGrath; J Cassidy, C Cullen, L Cullen; U Kelm, J McMahon, K Connor; E Donnelly, R Jones; D Teague, A Breen, C Corrigan; D McCusker, C Jones, S Quigley
Subs: B Mulrone for Teague (HT), P McCusker for Quigley (44m), T Clarke for Connor (61m), R Lyons for Breen (65m), Teague for D McCusker (68m)
Donegal: S Patton; P McGrath, N McGee, S McMenamin; R McHugh, D ÓBaoill, EB Gallagher; H McFadden, J McGee; C Thompson, L McLoone, J Brennan; P McBrearty, M Murphy, M Langan
Subs: F McGlynn for ÓBaoill (50m), N O’Donnell for McLoone (55m), E McHugh for McGrath (62m), E Doherty for R McHugh (71m), P Brennan for Thompson (74m)
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)
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