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Ulster SFC Final: Derry edge out Donegal

Brendan Rogers, Derry, and Caolan McGonagle, Donegal, in action during the Ulster SFC Final.

Brendan Rogers, Derry, and Caolan McGonagle, Donegal, in action during the Ulster SFC Final.

Ulster SFC Final

Derry 1-16 Donegal 1-14

After extra-time

By Declan Bogue at St Tiernach's Park, Clones

Derry won their first Ulster title since 1998 on a day of days for the county in Clones, by sealing the first ever provincial final that went to extra-time.

In an exhausting afternoon, it came down to one last play at the end of the second period of extra-time with Donegal captain Michael Murphy standing over a 14 metre free. He let fly with a vicious drop-kick, seeking to wipe out Derry’s two-point lead.

But one of the multiple of Derry players got their body in the road. Nobody cared. The ball broke out wide, Derry players infused with an adrenaline shot as they chased up the field only to hear the three late, sweet peeps of referee Sean Hurson’s whistle.

As captain Chrissy McKaigue said in the opening words of his address after pumping the Anglo-Celt Cup to the heavens, “It was just our time!”

An early goal from Niall Loughlin on eleven minutes sent them on their way to building an early lead. At times Donegal looked oddly passive and only for the spritely movement and scoring of Peader Mogan, they would have been in serious peril.

After the break they decimated Derry’s lead with an early Odhran McFadden-Ferry goal after Derry goalkeeper Odhran Lynch coiuld not hold a drive from Michael Langan.

Thereafter the game swung around the place wildly, but the last quarter belonged to Derry with six of the last nine scores, the last score from a Shane McGuigan free coming ten long minutes from the end of normal time.

Derry outscored Donegal 0-4 to 0-2 in the extra-time periods, with full-back Brendan Rogers both scoring his third, and then setting up Conor Glass for the last point of the game.  

It was manager Rory Gallagher’s first Ulster title at the fourth attempt as a manger in his own right.

Scorers for Derry: S McGuigan (0-6, 5f), N Loughlin (1-2, 1f), B Rogers (0-3), C Doherty, C Glass, E Bradley, P Cassidy, S Downey (0-1 each).

Scorers for Donegal: C McGonagle (0-3), O McFadden-Ferry (1-0), J McGee (0-2), M Murphy (0-2), S O’Donnell (0-2), P McBrearty (0-2f), R McHugh (0-1), C Thompson (0-1), A Doherty (0-1mark).

DERRY: O Lynch; C McKaigue, B Rogers, C McCluskey; C Doherty, G McKinless, P McGrogan; C Glass, E Doherty; P Cassidy, S Downey, N Toner; B Heron, S McGuigan, N Loughlin

Subs: E Bradley for Loughlin (46 mins), L Murray for Heron (64 mins), B McCarron for Toner (68 mins), P McNeill for Downey (72 mins), N Toner for McCarron (ET 11 mins), B Heron for Murray (ET 11 mins), O McWilliams for Doherty (ET 16 mins).

DONEGAL: S Patton; C Ward, B McCole, S McMenamin; R McHugh, EB Gallagher, O McFadden-Ferry; C McGonagle, J McGee; P Mogan, S O’Donnell, M Langan; P McBrearty, M Murphy, J Brennan

Subs: C O’Donnell for Brennan (57 mins), A Doherty for McFadden-Ferry (64 mins), N O’Donnell for S O’Donnell (72 mins), H McFadden for McGee (ET 1 mins), C Thompson for McGonagle (ET 10mins), P Brennan for Langan (ET 11 mins).

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).