DERRY GAA: Minor hurlers ease past Donegal into Ulster final

Derry will meet Antrim in the Ulster Minor Hurling final.
Derry will meet Antrim in the Ulster Minor Hurling final.

Ulster Minor Hurling Championship Semi-final

Derry 4-16, Donegal 2-06

Derry progressed to the Ulster Minor hurling final on the back of a convincing 16-point win over Donegal at Celtic Park.

Dual star Richie Mullan top scored for the Oak Leaf county, amassing a quietly impressive 1-09 over the hour, while Tiarnan McHugh, with two, and captain Tim Rankin also scored goals for the winners.

Liam Hinphey’s young side will meet favourites and reigning champions, Antrim, in this year’s provincial final on Sunday.

Derry undermined their lack of preparation for this game, scorching to an early 1-05 to no score lead after just nine brief minutes. Fintan Bradley and Mullan helped themselves to a brace of points apiece before Rankin squirted home the first goal of the contest past Donegal netminder, Ciaran Bradley.

Perilously slow to start, Donegal gradually dragged themselves back into it with Ben Doherty highly influential at midfield and Stephen Anderson unerring with his free-taking accuracy. But any time recent Ulster Shield winners Donegal threatened, the home side responded with real intent. Back to back McHugh goals extended the Derry lead to 3-7 to 0-5, before a late Ben Doherty goal left Donegal trailing 3-8 to 1-5 at the break.

Jordan Barr’s green flag soon after the restart offered hope to Tír Ċonaıll but stung into retaliation, Derry hit the next eight consecutive scores to snuff out any residual Donegal hopes. Free-taker Mullan, who will run out for his county in both football and hurling provincial finals in the next two weeks, added to his nine points with a 43rd minute goal.

Late points from Declan Quinn and a monster effort from Eoghan O’Kane confirmed the Oakleaf win.

Scorers: Derry: Richie Mullan 1-9 (0-8f), Tiaran McHugh 2-0, Tim Rankin 1-1, Declan Quinn 0-3 (0-1f), Fintan Bradley 0-1, Caolite McAlinden 0-1, Eoghan O’Kane 0-1

Donegal: Stephen Anderson 0-4f, Ben Doherty 1-1, Jordan Barr 1-0, Kieran Brady 0-1

Derry: Sean Kelly, Ronan Corey, Tiarnan Walsh, Ruairi Rafferty, Michael McEldowney, Richie Mullan, Caolite McAlinden, Reece McSorley, Tim Rankin, Fintan Bradley, Eoghan O’Kane, Connor Campbell, Declan Quinn, Tiarnan McHugh, Cathal Donnelly.

Subs: Martin Quinn for C Campbell (HT), Noel Moore for R McSorley (51), Ciaran Henry for C Donnelly (53), Ryan Scullion for M McEldowney (56) , Cahan Murray for T McHugh (56)

Donegal: Ciaran Bradley, Chris Gallagher, Fiachra McLaughlin, Cathair Doherty, Cormac Finn, Donal Doherty, Ryan Hilferty, Caolan McDermott, Ben Doherty, Stephen Anderson, Aaron Craig, Thomas Harnett, Kieran Brady, Cian Randles, Jordan Barr.

Subs: Cathal McGlynn for K Brady (HT)

Referee: Colum Canning (Antrim)