Donegal’s Ulster minor football championship semi-final against Armagh is scheduled for O’Neill’s Healy Park Omagh at 7.30 pm on Friday August 6th with the second semi-final between Fermanagh and Tyrone (who won a toss-up) at the same venue the following evening. Donegal’s hold-out two point victory over Monaghan was one of three exciting finishes for the “away” sides across the quarter-finals with both Fermanagh and Armagh recording one point wins in Cavan and Derry, respectively. Only Tyrone, who cruised home against Down, did not suffer a nerve-jangling finale. The four sets of results were:
Cavan 1-11 Fermanagh 1-12;
Tyrone 3-16 Down 0-9;
Derry 0-11 Armagh 0-12
Monaghan 0-10 Donegal 1-9
The 14 players of Donegal looked in trouble when three Stephen Mooney points within two minutes of the second half resumption moved Monaghan ahead for the first time in the game. However, they weathered the storm and it was level by the second half water-break. Substitutes Michael Callaghan (2 points) and Gary Kelly eased Donegal into a three point lead going into the five minutes of added time but despite constant Monaghan pressure, and the numerical disadvantage, Donegal calmly retained possession for considerable periods and held out for a well merited and hard-worked two point win. Luke McGlynn scored the Donegal goal from the penalty spot and a superb point-blank save by Aaron Cullen was hugely significant coming minutes after Ethan Harkin received his second yellow card, a point of the game where Donegal were vulnerable to a Monaghan surge that would have put them very much in the driver’s seat. It was a superb win for this young team with a huge performance that will have given great satisfaction to manager Luke Barrett and his mentors.
During the half-time interval a lovely gesture from the Donegal U20 squad – who were knocked out of the Ulster championship by Monaghan, captained from centre half back by Brendan Óg Ó’Dufaigh – saw Donegal u-20 captain Rory O’Donnell present a Dún na nGall number six jersey, signed by all of the squad, to the Monaghan Chairperson Declan Flanagan. The jersey will be passed on to the family of Brendan Óg – ar dheis Dhé go raibh a anam.