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Ernesiders sink without a fight


By Chris McNulty

Willie Gillespie and Ciaran Brennan hit goals late in the first half to steer Donegal to a comfortable win over Fermanagh in breezy Ballybofey last night.

Captain Patrick McBrearty, who was excellent throughout, netted a late penalty as Maxi Curran's side overcame a slow start to book a place in the semi-finals.

Thomas McCaffery shot Fermanagh ahead in the fifth minute, when he popped over the bar with only the goalkeeper – ex-Manchester United underage player Joe Coll – to beat after he got in behind to seize on a slip by Andrew McCloskey.

After a nervous start, Donegal were settled with three points from McBrearty, before they struck gold with two goals late in the first half.

From a dropping ball in by McBrearty, Willie Gillespie rose ahead of keeper Paddy Sweeney to steer home.

In added time at the end of the half, Donegal took a real grip on things when full-back Brennan got on the end of a McBrearty pass and his mis-hit effort looped over Sweeney to give his side a 2-4 to 0-5 advantage at the break.

McBrearty curled over a majestic point from the tightest of positions at the outset of the second period, while Ryan McHugh and Hugh McFadden were also on the mark. Fermanagh's only score of the second half came from an Eoin McManus free.

With Donegal already home and hosed, McFadden won a penalty late in the day when he was fouled by Niall Shannon and McBrearty slotted it home in style.

DONEGAL: J Coll; C Parke, C Brennan (1-0), A McCloskey; E McHugh, R McHugh (0-1), G Gallagher; H McFadden (0-1), B McNelis; E Doherty, C Thompson (0-1), M O'Reilly; D Mulgrew, P McBrearty (0-7, 3f), W Gillespie (1-0).

Subs: L Connor for Mulgrew (41), G Clancy for McNelis (50), B Griffin for Doherty (54), C Cannon for E McHugh (55)

FERMANAGH: P Sweeney; K McDonnell, C Cullen, E Hamill; N Shannon, L Cullen, S McManus; R Lyons, R Hyde; D Teague, R Corrigan, L Leonard (0-1); T McCaffery (0-1), E Courtney (0-3f), E McManus (0-1f).

Subs: L Jones for McCaffery (30), for J Allen Lyons (39), B McAleer for E McManus (47), N Maguire for Teague (52), N Carson for S McManus (60)

Referee: D Connolly (Monaghan)

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