Classy Donegal march into Ulster final

Derry's Terence O'Brien in action against Longford's Barry Gilleran
Derry's Terence O'Brien in action against Longford's Barry Gilleran

Donegal progressed to a fourth Ulster final in a row under Jim McGuinness after a facile 3-16 to 0-12 victory over Antrim in Clones yesterday.

Two goals in five minutes at the start of the second half laid the platform for Donegal’s win, Leo McLoone finding the net after 42 minutes quickly followed by Darach O’Connor’s stunning strike.

Meanwhile, Fermanagh and Derry both bowed out of the All-Ireland Championship on Saturday, beaten in the first round of qualifying games.

Derry were shocked to go out at the hands of Longford, losing by two points, 2-14 to 2-16.

Longford were relegated to Division IV this spring, but they were deserving winners against a Derry side who contested the Division I final just two months ago.

Most of the drama came in the last ten minutes when Derry came from five points down to draw level with goals from Benny Heron and skipper Mark Lynch.

Lynch’s superb strike after 63 minutes undid all of Longford’s hard work but the visitors’ substitute Mark Hughes responded with a goal a minute later. Hughes’ brilliant dummy beat goalkeeper Thomas Mallon and he finished the ball to the net to add to Longford’s back-door wins over Derry in 2006 and 2012.

Laois, meanwhile, had the bare minimum to spare when they overcame Fermanagh by a solitary point at O’Moore Park, eventually prevailing by 1-19 to 2-15, a scoreline that didn’t do justice to their superiority from general play.