Donegal and Ulster University into Conor McGurk Cup semi-finals
AN IMPRESSIVE Tír Chonaill side scored a comprehensive Conor McGurk Cup quarter-final victory over Monaghan at the Donegal GAA Centre on Saturday, 3-31 to 0-8.
Mickey McCann’s men were fitter, faster, more physically powerful and deadly clinical in front of the posts as they racked up their biggest score in a very long time. And they did it without Davin Flynn (unavailable), Danny Cullen (holidays), Bernard Lafferty, Gerry Gilmore and Mark Callaghan.
In their absence, Burt’s two young giants Conor Gartland and Liam McKinney turned in powerful displays, while Brian McIntyre and an in- form Richie Ryan up front showed no mercy to Monaghan.
This match was well over by half time as the home side led by a whopping 3-17 to 0-4. Monaghan improved slightly in the second-half with the aid of a slight breeze, but Donegal continued to hit some impressive points as they ran out the easiest of winners.
The first of three first-half goals came after Daire Ó Maoileidgih found the net from a good Christopher McDermott pass to put Tír Chonaill into a 1-5 to 0-1 lead by the 13th minute.
Ronan McDermott and Ryan added two more goals before the break as Monaghan found it difficult to break the tackle and to even get out of their own half. Gritty Monaghan forward Pearse McKenna and Flynn were on target for the Farney county in sporadic attacks.
Donegal were not flattered by their half-time lead of 3-17 to 0-4 and, while the pace dropped a bit on the resumption, the home side still managed to tack on another 0-14 to their opponents’ paltry 0-4.
Both sides ran the benches, with Donegal throwing on Declan Coulter, who landed a pointed free.
On Saturday afternoon, a strong second-half showing from Ulster University saw them past Fermanagh and into the McGurk Cup last-four, 1-21 to 2-15.
Fermanagh looked to be on their way to victory when they led UU by 9 points at half-time thanks to goals from Brian Teehan and Caolan Duffy and were good value for their 2-11 to 0-8 interval lead.
However, UU staged a strong, wind-assisted second-half revival to dominate the second 30 minutes inspired chiefly by Aodhan O’Brien. A scrambled goal from substitute Fearghal McManus proved the vital score for the university side.
MEATH are sitting pretty at the top of the Kehoe Cup group after yesterday’s 11-point win over Down at Dunganny, 2-24 to 1-16.
Ronan Sheehan’s men were competitive in the first-half in their first outing of the year and, with 28 minutes played, led the Royal county by 1-8 to 0-9.
However, the home side played themselves back into the game and, when James Toher converted a penalty after 40 minutes, they were four in front. Meath never looked back after that as Down struggled to keep pace to the finish line.
The Ards men are back in action tonight when they face Queen’s in a McGurk Cup quarter-final at the Dub (7.30pm).