|24 April 2022
A stellar second-half performance saw Donegal cruise to a victory over Armagh at Ballybofey to progress to an Ulster Championship Semi-Final.
The Tir Chonaill county looked the better throughout the game and despite several misses in the opening half they went in three points ahead at the break.
Armagh came out fighting in the second but their hopes were dashed by a Patrick McBrearty goal and they couldn't find any momentum as Donegal points kept coming to see the home team ease to victory.
Donegal got off to flying start with a point from play from Eoghan Ban Gallagher in the opening minute while Michael Murphy added his first of many frees to send the Tir Chonaill county two points to the good after two minutes.
Armagh began to get a grip on the game and Jarlath Og Burns got their opening point on 5 minutes to settle the visitors at a packed Ballybofey.
Jason McGee got another for the home side and Tiernan Kelly returned a point at the other end of the pitch as a lively game began to take shape.
Some of the fire and fury left over from the counties' league encounter was evident when Donegal's Michael Langan was booked for a late challenge on his man and
Rory Grugan was on hand to slot over a free for the visitors.
Some great attacking play from late change Conor Turbitt then saw the visitors go a point ahead from his score.
Grugan and Michael Murphy were to point further frees to keep their sides ticking over while Langan chipped in with another for the Green and Gold to see the sides level on 20 minutes.
Donegal could have been ahead at that stage but were inaccurate in front of goal, with Jason McGee tallying the sides' fifth wide of the game before the 25th minute.
Another Murphy free on 28 minutes marked three unanswered points for Donegal as their quality began to show.
Grugan got one back for his side but he was the only real bright spark for the Orchard County up front as star-man Rian O'Neill struggled to get involved as he was tracked by Brendan McCole.
As half-time approached O'Neill was booked while points from Paddy McBrearty and Ciaran Thompson saw the home side enter the half-time break three points to the good.
Armagh were intent on getting back into the game in the second-half and piled the pressure on Donegal who found it difficult to escape their half.
Despite their pressure and several attacking subs, the Orchard County failed to find any scores and momentum changed when Donegal fought through the Armagh defence to get the opening point of the half through Shane O'Donnell.
O'Donnell was again involved three minutes later when he fought to keep possession and got the ball to Paddy McBrearty who hit the back of the net for Donegal and put distance between the sides.
Armagh were able to tack on points here and there but any momentum gained from getting consecutive scores was soon halted by a Donegal score at the other end.
A late Michael Murphy point saw the gap go to seven points between the sides and there it would stay as Donegal cruised to an Ulster Semi-Final while Armagh will have to go back to the drawing board.
|Eoghán Bán Gallagher
|Jarlath Óg Burns