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Magical Murphy simply too good as Donegal see off Rossies

Donegal 0-20 Roscommon 0-13

By Chris McNulty

In these moments, Declan Bonner is just thankful he has the Michael Murphy conundrum to deal with.

The Donegal captain, who scored nine points in all was inspirational at Dr Hyde Park.

Beginning initially at centre-field, where he helped give Donegal a foothold in the contest, Murphy wrecked havoc when moved inside. It prompted that age-old question of where best to play the Glenswilly giant.

Bonner shrugged at the puzzle. "Wherever Michael goes, he'll perform," the Donegal manager said. "He'll always contribute. He can play anywhere."

There were the customary long-rage rockets, but there was that time in the first half when Murphy raced out in front of Niall McInerney, collected Odhrán Mac Niallais's pass and, almost-effortlessly, curled over, when the artist was truly at his easel.

It was a score that slammed Donegal three in front and came mere seconds after Donegal goalkeeper Shaun Patton denied Brian Stack with a fine save at the other end.

Roscommon led 0-4 to 0-2 after 12 minutes, but Donegal kicked seven-in-a-row to move through the gears and take a five-point cushion to the break.

McStay was incensed at the failure of the officials to award his team two frees late in the half and a clash with linesman Niall Cullen - when the Roscommon manager appeared to hit the Fermanagh official with a football - could land him in hot water.

Patton thwarted Stack again while Mac Niallais - who scored four excellent points for the victors - struck the inside of a post as Donegal went for the kill.

Roscommon managed to keep it respectable, but Donegal were never in danger. Now, they'll host Tyrone in Ballybofey with an All-Ireland semi-final spot the reward for the victor.

Roscommon: C Lavin; D Murray, N McInerney, S McDermott; J McManus, F Cregg, C Devaney; T O'Rourke, C Compton (0-1); C Murtagh (0-4, 2f), N Kilroy, E Smith (0-1); D Murtagh (0-3, 1f), B Stack (0-2), C Cregg. Subs: C Lennon for Compton (h-t), D Smith (0-2) for C.Cregg (45), F Cregg for McDermott (47), P Kelly for Stack (59).

Donegal: S Patton; P McGrath, S McMenamin, E Gallagher; F McGlynn, P Brennan, E Doherty; L McLoone (0-1), M Murphy (0-9, 3f, 1 '45); R McHugh (0-1), M Langan (0-1), C Thompson (0-2, 1f); O Mac Niallais (0-4), H McFadden, J Brennan (0-1). Subs: N McGee for Gallagher (19), N O'Donnell for J.Brennan (54), A Thompson for McGlynn (56), D Ó Baoill for P.Brennan (62), M McHugh for C.Thompson (63), M O'Reilly (0-1) for Langan (68).

Referee: C Brannagan (Down).

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