Donegal sent out a warning to the rest of the field that they aren’t going to give up their Ulster Bank U18 Inter County Vocational Schools title without a fight after turning on the style to record a comfortable win over Down at Killyclogher yesterday afternoon.
The champions got off to the best possible start with a goal after only two minutes. A free flowing Donegal side moved the ball at pace throughout the game and a hat trick from Darragh O’Connor had the game beyond the challengers by half time.
Cian Mulligan burst through to fire in that opening goal and after Willie Gillespie and Corey Quinn had traded points O’Connor converted a penalty. Straight from the next kickout midfielder Cathal McGettigan sent O’Connor through for another goal before he completed his hat-trick with only a quarter of an hour gone on the clock. Rory Burns and Quinn secured Down points but they had it all to do as they trailed 4-4 to 0-4 at the interval.
Quinn weighed in with another couple of points for Down in the third quarter but those scores were cancelled out by McGettigan and O’Connor at the other end of the field .
With five minutes left to play Mulligan finished low to the net for his second and Donegal’s fifth goal of the contest before Frank Gallagher and attacking wing back Lee O’Brien closed the game out with points apiece on a day when the winners had eight different scorers. Donegal will now play either Monaghan or Cavan in the decider, who meet at Clones today.
Donegal: L Kelly, O Scally, S McLaughlin, J Scally, L O’Brien [0-1], C McCormack, A Dalton, P Gillespie, C McGettigan [0-1], C Mulligan [2-0], W Gillespie [0-2], C Harkin [0-1], L Conor [0-1], D O’Connor [3-2], D McCarron. Subs – J Blaney for Dalton, E Gallagher for McCarron, F Gallagher [0-1] for Conor, J Marley for Mulligan, M Gallagher for Harkin
Down: G Caulfield, L Fegan, C Greenan, M Fegan, R Cunningham, P McGorrian, R Hughes [0-2], R McKernan, W Campbell, A McCartan [0-1], R Burns [0-1], C Rodgers, P Lively, C Quinn [0-4], R Branagan. Subs – M Carlisle for Caulfield, M McArdle for Rodgers
Referee: S McNamee, Tyrone