The inability of Derry to put two good performances back-to-back came back to haunt them again as Donegal dumped them out of the championship after extra time in Ballybofey.
In a remarkable turnaround, Donegal got the better of the Oak Leaf men with an inspired display, given their lack-lustre performances to date.
In front of almost 12,000, it was a tense affair with Derry coming back from the dead to force extra time but a Kevin Cassidy goal a minute into the first period really put the game beyond Derry's reach.
“We deserved the criticism we got before this. We had a great night's training on Tuesday night and I seen in some of the boys' eyes that there was a big match in them,” said Donegal manager, John Joe Doherty.
Poor shooting was the order of the day in the opening quarter with both sides shooting five but Donegal took a grip when Michael Murphy set up Colm McFadden for the first goal on 19 minutes and despite Mark Lynch hitting some great scores, Donegal led by three at the break, 1-5 to 0-5.
Paddy Bradley was largely a spectator as Karl Lacey kept tabs on him. Donegal should have gone further clear when Conall Dunne hit the crossbar early in the second half, but they had the momentum and were five clear – 1-9 to 0-7 with twenty minutes left.
Derry lost Paddy Bradley to injury but the others really found their shooting boots with one score better than the next before Chrissy McKaigue tied up the game a minute into added time.
Derry had the wind in their sails, and when Eoin Bradley hit another to put them ahead seconds into the first period.
However Donegal responded with Rory Kavanagh and Murphy combining to put Kevin Cassidy through for the second goal and that score proved the last turning point.
Derry still made a fight of it through Kielt and Gerard O'Kane and Enda Lynn could easily have been awarded a free to get a replay in the dying seconds.
“We probably lost it in the first twenty minutes of the first half.
“We lost the initiative at that stage,” said Derry manager Damien Cassidy.
DONEGAL: M Boyle; F McGlynn, N McGee, K Lacey; B Dunnion, B Monaghan (0-1), E McGee; B Boyle, K Cassidy (1-1); R Kavanagh, B Roper (0-1), L McLoone; C Dunne, M Murphy (0-5,3f), C McFadden (1-4,2f). Subs: D Walsh (0-1) for McLoone 58; M Hegarty for Roper 63; J Gallagher for N McGee 72
DERRY: B Gillis; G O'Kane (0-1), K McCloy, S M Lockhart; C McKaigue (0-1), B McGoldrick (0-2,2f), S L McGoldrick; F Doherty, Patsy Bradley; J Diver, J Kielt (0-5,3f), B Mullan; E Bradley (0-3, one 45), Paddy Bradley (0-2,2f), M Lynch (0-3). Subs: B Og McAlary for McCloy 34; G McShane (0-1) for Diver 43; B McGuigan for Mullan 45; E Lynn for Paddy Bradley 50
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath)