Donegal beat Cork by two points in All-Ireland Football semi-final

Ryan Bradley of Donegal gives chase to Cork opponent Graham Canty at Croke Park
Ryan Bradley of Donegal gives chase to Cork opponent Graham Canty at Croke Park

Donegal are through to the final of the All-Ireland Football Championship for the first time since 1992 after a superb 0-16 to 1-11 win over Cork.

The Ulster title holders held a slender 0-8 to 0-7 advantage at the break and then pulled away with a storming second-half display at Croke Park.

Donegal looked home and dry at five points up before Colm O'Neill's goal gave Cork hope in stoppage-time.

Holders Dublin play Mayo in the other semi-final on Sunday, 2 September.

However, Jim McGuinness's heroes will fear no-one after having disposed of Cork in such emphatic fashion.

They were worthy winners and their fans will believe they capture the coveted Sam Maguire trophy for only the second time in their history when they return to headquarters on 23 September.

Seven-times winners Cork had started favourites and held the lead several times in a nip and tuck first half - but neither side led by more than a point until the second half.

Donegal were quick to close down their opponents and in the second period their self-belief wore Cork down.

The Ulster side got the first point on the board when a foul by dual star Eoin Cadogan on Michael Murphy gave the Donegal captain the chance to score with a free in the third minute.

Cork, champions in 2010, hit back with two fine points from play scored by Paul Kerrigan and Patrick Kelly.

Colm McFadden levelled with a free and then restored the Ulster champions' lead after a high ball in was laid off by target man Murphy.

Cork's Daniel Goulding and Murphy then exchanged frees before Ciaran Sheehan's fisted point squared the contest at 0-4 apiece.

Rory Kavanagh then surged into space and delivered a fine 35-metre to edge Donegal ahead again, with perhaps the score of the half.

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Donegal manager Jim McGuinness celebrating with Michael Murphy

Cork's top scorer in the champions this year, Colm O'Neill, sent over two quick points from play but Karl Lacey levelled.

Donegal boss Jim McGuinness sent on Ryan Bradley and the substitute scored straight away and then Mark McHugh fisted over from a tight angle for the final point of the half.

The Ulster side made a storming start to the second half and forged a four-point lead through scores by McFadden, Frank McGlynn and Lacey.

Aidan Walsh landed a long-range point for Cork but Anthony Thompson kicked over a reply for Donegal after a goal attempt had been blocked by keeper Alan Quirke.

Cork could have cut their arrears to a point with a goal but Colm O'Neill's shot on the turn crashed off the underside of the bar and the danger was cleared.

Sheehan scored for the Munster men but McFadden's free restored Donegal's four-point cushion and a superb Murphy free made it a five-point game.

Cork's points by Kerrigan and O'Neill were matched by McFadden and substitute Martin McElhinney.

O'Neill's low shot into the net came too late for Cork. It cut the gap to two points but, in truth, Donegal's dominance merited a great winning margin.

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