Ulster Senior Football Championship Quarter Final:
Derry 0-11 Donegal 1-11
Michael Murphy inspired Donegal to a second half blitzing of Derry to progress to an Ulster semi-final for the fourth successive year under Jim McGuinness.
Questions had been asked of Donegal in the build-up to this quarter-final tie at Celtic Park and the jury was still out after a poor first half display.
The visitors trailed by 0-6 to 0-4 at the interval, but effectively won the game with a quick-fire 1-3 in seven electric minutes after the restart, inspired by captain Michael Murphy. Donegal actually scored 1-5 without reply early in the second half to completely turn the game around.
Anthony Thompson narrowed the deficit after 35 seconds with a point and then Michael Murphy, who moved from midfield to full-forward for the second period, took control.
He won a ball with his back to goal and laid it off to Frank McGlynn, whose perfectly weighted hand-pass over the top found Leo McLoone who drilled the ball into the net on 39 minutes.
Murphy followed it up with his only point from play one minute later and then scored the most spectacular point of the game from a sideline ball on 42 minutes.
Within seven minutes, Donegal went from two points behind to four in front – and it was a turnaround Derry were unable to recover from.
Derry failed to score for the first 15 minutes of the second half but hung in long enough to reduce the gap to two, with five minutes remaining.Donegal did not score for 12 minutes but finished strongly with McLoone tagging on an important point.
Derry sub James Kielt was sent-off in injury-time, for picking up a yellow card followed by a black card for tripping Eamon McGee.
Donegal made a string of switches before the throw-in with Frank McGlynn and Leo McLoone playing in the half-forward line and a whole new midfield of Christy Toye and debutant Odhran MacNiallais.
Fergal Doherty dominated the early midfield exchanges for Derry before being forced off with a back injury and the Oak Leafers were never behind in the first half.
The sides were level three times early on, Lacey tying the scores for the third time after 21 minutes. Lacey marked Derry play-maker Mark Lynch tightly while Anthony Thompson and Frank McGlynn had influential games for Donegal.
Murphy tormented Chrissy McKaigue in the third quarter, when a cracking quarter-final was ultimately decided, putting Donegal through to an Ulster semi-final against Antrim or Fermanagh on June 22.
Scorers for Derry: M Lynch 0-4 (3f), E Bradley 0-3 (2f), B Heron 0-2 (one ’45’), C McFaul, N Holly 0-1 each
Scorers for Donegal: L McLoone 1-1, M Murphy 0-4 (2f), D O’Connor, C Toye, K Lacey, P McBrearty, M McElhinney, A Thompson 0-1 each
DERRY: T Mallon; D McBride, G McKinless, C McKaigue; K Johnson, M Lynch, G O’Kane; F Doherty, P Bradley; C McFaul, SL McGoldrick, E Lynn; E Bradley, E McGuckin, C O’Boyle. Subs: N Holly for Doherty (16), R Bell for O’Boyle (43), B Heron for Holly (48), O Duffy for Johnson (58), J Kielt for McGuckin (60), C McGoldrick for E Bradley (68)
DONEGAL: P Durcan; E McGee, N McGee, R McHugh; A Thompson, K Lacey, P McGrath; C Toye, O MacNiallais; F McGlynn, L McLoone, D O’Connor; P McBrearty, M Murphy, C McFadden. Subs: M McElhinney for Toye (HT), N Gallagher for O’Connor (43), David Walsh for MacNiallais (57), L Keaney for McBrearty (65), D Molloy for McFadden (68)
REFEREE: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)