Ulster Football Championship quarter-final: Donegal 3-19 Antrim 1-09
|Ulster Championship quarter-final: Donegal 3-19 Antrim 1-09|
|Donegal scorers: M Murphy 0-6, C Thompson 0-4, H McFadden 0-1, J Brennan 1-1, F McGlynn 0-1, P McBrearty 1-2, P McGrath 1-0, K Lacey 0-1, M Langon 0-2, M McHugh 0-1|
|Antrim scorers: CJ McGourty 0-6, T McCann 0-2, S Beatty 0-1, C Small 1-0|
Donegal overcame early resistance from Antrim to move convincingly into the Ulster semi-finals courtesy of a thumping 3-19 to 1-9 win at Ballybofey.
A Jamie Brennan goal helped the hosts to a 1-8 to 0-6 half-time lead, with Paddy McGrath and Paddy McBrearty also finding the net as Donegal dominated.
Conor Small grabbed a late goal for Antrim, for whom the impressive CJ McGourty top-scored with six points.
Antrim had Matthew Fitzpatrick carried off with ankle ligament damage.
Brennan goal boosts Donegal
Antrim began the game brightly and found themselves level at 0-4 apiece thanks to some fine counter-attacking play and clinical finishing which saw them register four points from their first four attacks.
McGourty and Tomas McCann landed a couple of points each for the Saffrons early on and ended the opening period with three and two points respectively, Stephen Beatty adding the other score.
Ciaran Thompson and Michael Murphy helped keep the scoreboard ticking over for the home side, before Brennan gathered and rifled a right-foot shot into the net, adding a point for good measure, to put five points between the teams by the interval.
McGourty missed a goalscoring chance for the Saffrons in the first half, firing a left-foot shot wide, while Fitzpatrick turned and shot wide of the target for the visitors just one minute before Brennan found the net at the other end.
Fitzpatrick, who had been at the centre of a disciplinary wrangle during the week as he had an initial 48-week ban overturned on appeal, was carried off injured before the break.
One-sided second half
The second half had an air of inevitability about it as Donegal extended their advantage, inspired by skipper Michael Murphy, who took his tally to six points with the help of an audacious long-range score from 50 metres.
McGrath shrugged off the challenge of goalkeeper Chris Kerr to dispatch Donegal's second goal, with substitute McBrearty adding the third in time added on for injuries to make his contribution 1-2.
Two other substitutes, Michael Langon and Karl Lacey, also made their impact on the scoreboard as the home side ran out comfortable victors.
McGourty continued to knock over scores for Antrim, with Small driving a right-foot shot into the top corner in the final action of the game for a consolation.
Donegal will face either Tyrone or Derry in the first of the Ulster Championship semi-finals on 18 June. Antrim will take their place in the draw for round one of the qualifiers.
What they said
Donegal manager Rory Gallagher: "It was a poor game which never really caught fire, it was very 'stop-start', but we were well in control and I'm happy to be in the next round.
"It took us a while to settle down and it was a pretty average performance from us but the goals brightened up the day.
"The semi-final against Tyrone or Derry will give us a better reflection of where we are at."
Antrim joint-manager Gearoid Adams: "We are very disappointed with our second half performance. It was men against boys so we have no complaints.
"We gave a good display in the first half but in the end it showed that it was a Division One team against a Division Three or Four team. They took their scoring opportunities, we didn't."
How they lined up
Donegal: MA McGinley; P McGrath, N McGee, EB Gallagher; M Reilly, F McGlynn, C Ward; J McGee, C Thompson; M Carroll, H McFadden, R McHugh; C Mulligan,, M Murphy, J Brennan.
Antrim: C Kerr; C Hamill, P Gallagher, P Healy; P McBride, D Lynch, P McAleer; S McVeigh, S Beatty; R McCann, M Fitzpatrick, M Sweeney; CJ McGourty, B Bradley, T McCann. Subs: A Hasson, K O'Boyle, N Delargy, O Eastwood, D Nugent, J Dowling, C Small, S Tierney, E Walsh, S McGarry, P Branagan.
Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon).