Cavan beat Donegal to win third straight Ulster U21 football title

Cavan's Michael Argue tries to burst away from Donegal's Martin O'Reilly

Cavan clinched a third straight Ulster Under-21 football title as they beat Donegal 0-13 to 1-6 at Brewster Park.

The Breffnimen looked comfortable when they led 0-8 to 0-2 early in the second half but Paddy McBrearty inspired a Donegal revival which fell just short.

McBrearty set up Willie Gillespie's 36th-minute goal and hit four points in 10 minutes to cut the margin to two.

But late Jack Brady and Paul Graham points set up an All-Ireland semi-final clash with Cork for the Breffnimen.

The defending champions hit the first three points inside the opening seven minutes with Chris Conroy and Gerry Smith scoring from play.

Cavan's industry around the field was paying dividends and they scored another three unanswered points to lead 0-6 to 0-1.

McBrearty, allegedly bitten by a Dublin player in Sunday's Football League game at Ballybofey, had a goal chance in the 17th minute but he fired across the face of goal.

Donegal suffered a further blow when the influential Ryan McHugh, who carried a torn calf injury into the game, was forced to limp off after just 17 minutes.

McBrearty ended an 18-minute scoring drought for Donegal with his first point two minutes before half-time.

However the Breffni Blues scored again before the interval, Smith's second long-range point leaving them 0-7 to 0-2 ahead at the break.

Odhran McNelis flashed a third Donegal chance wide straight after the restart and three minutes later, McBrearty hit a 35-metre free well wide.

But Donegal were back in touch when a long ball from McBrearty was fisted into the net by Gillespie six minutes after the restart.

McBrearty started to take the edge in his scoring duel with Jack Brady and with 10 minutes left, Cavan's lead had been trimmed to only two points.

But Brady steadied Cavan's nerves with a 55th-minute free and sub Graham's late point confirmed the three-in-a-row celebrations for the Breffnimen, who will face Cork after their 1-17 to 0-9 Munster Final win over Tipperary on Wednesday night.


Cavan: C Gilsenan; J McLoughlin, K Clarke, C Brady; D McVitty, D Sexton, F Flanagan; B Sankey, M Argue; G Smith (0-2), C Conroy (0-3), T Mooney; E O'Reilly (0-3, 2f), P O'Connor (0-1), J Brady (0-3, 3f)

Subs: C Madden for Conroy (52), P Graham (0-1) for Mooney (55), J Dillon for O'Connor (59)

Donegal: P Boyle; K McFadden, C Ward, G Gallagher; P Carr, E McHugh, L Keaney; M O'Reilly, L Kelly; R McHugh, O McNelis, C Gibbons; W Gillespie (1-0), P McBrearty (0-5, 1f), D O'Connor (0-1)

Subs: C Cannon for R McHugh (17), C Parke for Kelly (35), A O'Gara for E McHugh (41)

Referee: Ciaran Branagan (Down)

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