Fermanagh made the game as difficult as possible with their structured defensive system, but in the end Donegal’s superior forward line dragged the Donegal men into the Ulster semi final where they meet Mickey Harte’s Tyrone. Paddy McBrearty, Michael Murphy, Michael Langan, Jamie Brennan and Ciaran Thompson all struck points in the final 10 minutes of the match to see off the resilient Fermanagh men.
Fermanagh began proceedings with a fisted Ultan Kelm point in the 5th minute before Sean Quigley doubled his sides advantage with a converted free. The opening exchanges were cagey and hard to watch but effective for Fermanagh as Donegal didn’t open their account until the 18th through Jamie Brennan after Hugh McFadden had sent him through for a score.
Donegal dominated the ball for the first 35 minutes, and after their first score they began to find their feet, hitting the games next three points. McBrearty kicked two points from free kicks while Leo McLoone also raised a white flag, the pace in which Murphy and Eoin Ban Gallagher brought to the attack allowed McLoone to storm through the Fermanagh defensive wall to fire over his first score.
Ryan Jones struck a monster point on the 30 minute mark to bring Fermanagh back into contention while Ciaran Corrigan tapped over a score to tie the game. Donegal headed for the tunnel in front however with Jason McGee chipping over a point, the visitors ahead by the minimum of margins, leading 0-5 to 0-4.
Jamie Brennan and Michael Murphy pushed Donegal further ahead with two quick fire points at the beginning of the second period. Ultan Kelm broke through once again for his second score of the contest while Jamie Brennan hit his third at the other end of the park. Declan McCusker sent up Barry Mulrone to keep the men in green and white in the contest before McBrearty knocked over his first of the second half.
Conall Jones and Ciaran Corrigan kept chipping away at Donegal’s lead but the last quarter belonged to the eventually victors, with McBrearty (2), Thompson, Langan, Murphy and Brennan all striking points, with Conall Jones the only answer Fermanagh had during this period. This saw a finish to an overwhelming dull encounter with Donegal coming out on top 0-15 to 0-9, now marching on in search of two in a row Ulster titles.
Donegal: Shaun Patton, Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Stephen McMenamin, Ryan McHugh, Daire O Baoill, Eoin Ban Gallagher, Hugh McFadden, Jason McGee (0-1), Ciaran Thompson (0-1), Leo McLoone (0-1), Jamie Brennan (0-4), Patrick McBrearty (0-5), Michael Murphy (0-2), Michael Langan (0-1) Subs: Frank McGlyyn for D. O Baoill, Niall O’Donnell for L. McLoone, Eoin McHugh for P. McGrath
Fermanagh: James McGrath, Jonny Cassidy, Che Cullen, Lee Cullen, Ultan Kelm (0-2), James McMahon, Kane Connor, Eoin Donnelly, Ryan Jones (0-1), Daniel Teague, Aidan Breen, Ciaran Corrigan (0-2), Declan McCusker, Conall Jones (0-2), Sean Quigley (0-1) Subs: Barry Mulrone (0-1) for D. Teague, Paul McCusker for S. Quigley, Tom Clarke for K. Conor, Ryan Lyons for A. Breen, Daniel Teague for D. McCusker.