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Declan Bonner is relishing semi-final tussle despite facing a numbers game

Antrim 1-9 Donegal 0-15

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Inspirational: Paddy McBrearty hit an impressive tally of seven points. Credit: INPHO/Jonathan Porter

Inspirational: Paddy McBrearty hit an impressive tally of seven points. Credit: INPHO/Jonathan Porter

©INPHO/Jonathan Porter

Inspirational: Paddy McBrearty hit an impressive tally of seven points. Credit: INPHO/Jonathan Porter

Donegal manager Declan Bonner says he is delighted to get an extra competitive Dr McKenna Cup game having watched his side top Group A with a 0-15 to 1-9 win over Antrim.

He may, however, have a threadbare squad for tomorrow night’s semi-final against Derry.

The Tír Chonaill men could be without up to a dozen players who are Sigerson Cup-tied, while the weekend win saw Brendan McCole and Eoghan Ban Gallagher pick up knocks.

Paddy McBrearty was in inspired form for Donegal as he kicked seven points in a virtuoso performance and while Antrim were just one adrift in stoppage time, Bonner’s men always had an answer.

“We knew coming up here it was going to be a good, competitive match,” he said.

“You can train all you like, but that’s why the McKenna Cup is so important in terms of that preparation going into the National League and we’ll go into a really good challenge on Tuesday night against Derry.”

Antrim were right in this game and while they trailed 0-5 to 0-2 at the half, a rather fortuitous Conor Murray goal just seconds after the break, when Donegal goalkeeper Shaun Patton spilled the dropping shot just over his line, and the sides were again level with 15 to play, but Donegal’s greater attacking quality saw them emerge with the points.

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“It wasn’t good enough,” said manager Enda McGinley.

“There were too many simple mistakes, but to their credit, they worked really hard.

“I thought our tackling side was really good, but our work with ball in hand needs to be better as that’s going to be typical of the test we will face in Division Three.”

Antrim scorers: C Murray 1-1, T McCann 0-2 (1 free), O Eastwood 0-2 (both frees), J Gribbin 0-1, K Small 0-1, D McAleese 0-1, R Murray 0-1 (free).

Donegal scorers: P McBrearty 0-7 (2 frees), P Mogan 0-1, C McGuinness 0-1, C O’Donnell 0-1, C Ward 0-1, C McGonagle 0-1, J McKelvey 0-1, M Langan 0-1, J Brennan 0-1.


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