Ulster MFC Group A: Donegal take top spot while Down miss out despite win over Fermanagh

Tir Chonaill men seal semi-final spot as Monaghan and Tyrone go into quarter-finals

Down were 17-point winners over Fermanagh in Saturday's Ulster MFC Group A match at Páirc Esler
Picture: Laura McCaul
Down were 17-point winners over Fermanagh in Saturday's Ulster MFC Group A match at Páirc Esler Picture: Laura McCaul

Donegal sealed top spot in Group A and progress straight to the semi-final of the Ulster Minor Football Championship following their 2-12 to 0-8 win over Monaghan in Ballyshannon on Saturday.

The Tir Chonaill boys did all the damage in the first half, with two goals just before half-time putting them in a commanding position.

The home side led by five points – 0-8 to 0-3 – when Eoghan Gallagher pounced for a goal on 28 minutes to extend their advantage.

A second goal a minute later from Donnacha Ó Baoill meant the game was all but out of reach for the Farney teens even by half-time, with Donegal leading 2-8 to 0-3 at the break.

The scoring tailed off in the second half but Donegal were comfortable winners at topped the group on six points, level on points with Tyrone but taking it on the head-to-head record having beaten in the Red Hands in round two.

They await the winners of the quarter-finals in the last four, but Down will not be among them.

Despite a comprehensive victory over Fermanagh, the Mournemen exited the competition by virtue of their head-to-head record against Monaghan, who also finished on four points with Down having  superior points difference.

Their defeat to the Farney lads in round three meant their 3-14 to 0-6 win over the Ernemen wasn’t enough, especially after Donegal’s win over Monaghan.

Still, Benny Coulter’s men were ruthless in their dismantling of Fermanagh at Páirc Esler on Saturday, with a strong second half show helping them seal the victory.

The cloudy and damp conditions made for a tentative first half with the home side going into the interval four points to the good, 0-6 to 0-2.

Down piled on the points in the second half before a first goal on 50 minutes saw them really put the game beyond Fermanagh.

A second goal soon followed and a third three-pointer in injury time sealed a comprehensive win.

The results mean that Monaghan take a quarter-final spot after finishing third and the will face Armagh on Saturday May 11. Second-place Tyrone will take on Cavan on Saturday for a place in the semi-finals.