Ulster SFC Final: Donegal retain title

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Ulster Senior Football Championship Final

DONEGAL 1-24 CAVAN 2-16

By Cian O'Connell at St Tiernachs Park, Clones

This was another one of those utterly dominant Donegal days in the Ulster Senior Football Championship.

It has been a decade filled with success and silverware for Donegal, who accumulated a fifth provincial title since 2011 with Jamie Brennan supplying the grace notes on this occasion.

Brennan decorated a dynamic individual display with a 58th minute goal just as Cavan were threatening to launch a comeback mission.

Cavan, one of the blue bloods of the northern game, just couldnt cope with the power and pace of Donegal in the first half.

By the time the interval rolled around Donegals advantage was 0-13 to 0-5, but it could have been more as a couple of gilt edged goalscoring opportunities were spurned.

Donegal had the stamina to run the ball, while also able to deliver from deep with the speed of Jamie Brennan causing the challengers all sorts of problems.

Brennan mined three points from play before the break, while the strong running of Ryan McHugh, Eoghan Ban Gallagher, and Ciaran Thompson caused them significant bother too.

By the 19th minute the favourites had assembled a 0-6 to 0-3 advantage as Conor Moynagh drilled over a splendid point for Cavan.

Still the Donegal response was smart and effective with five points reeled off without reply with Brennan and Paddy McGrath both going close to rattling the Cavan net.

Brennan two, Murphy free, Jason McGee, and Thompson raised white flags and though Conor Rehill dragged a goal attempt wide for Cavan, Declan Bonners charges still edged eight clear.

Jamie Brennan impressed for Donegal in the Ulster SFC Final against Cavan at St Tiernach's Park.Jamie Brennan impressed for Donegal in the Ulster SFC Final against Cavan at St Tiernach's Park.

That was the margin which divided the teams at the turnaround too with Donegal content that 0-13 had been registered from 23 shots, while Cavans conversion rate was 0-5 from 15.

When the action recommenced Donegal struck three of the first five points, but then Cavan eventually started to pose some questions.

Dara McVeety manufactured sufficient space to clip a couple of scores, while Gearoid McKiernan also burst forward to add further points.

A 56th minute McVeety point narrowed the gap and the Cavan crowd were beginning to believe that this summer of drama might include another thrilling revival.

Donegal, though, refused to be perturbed with the electric Brennan sealing the deal when showing his speed to grab a goal in the 58th minute in front of 28,780 spectators.

There was little wrong with Cavans attitude or application as substitute Cian Mackey crafted a chance which enabled Conor Madden to palm a 64th minute goal.

In the fifth minute of stoppage time replacement Stephen Murray added a second Cavan goal, but sufficient Donegal damage had been inflicted.

Michael Murphy hoisted the Anglo Celt Cup again, and it is becoming a familiar sight.

Scorers for Donegal: Jamie Brennan 1-4, Paddy McBrearty 0-5 1f, Michael Murphy 0-4 3fs, Ciaran Thompson and Jason McGee 0-2 each, Ryan McHugh, Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Daire OBaoill, Hugh McFadden, Niall ODonnell, and Michael Langan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cavan: Gearoid McKiernan 0-6 3fs, Conor Madden 1-1, Stephen Murray 1-0, Dara McVeety 0-3, Conor Moynagh, Conor Brady, Oisin Pierson, Jack Brady, Caoimhin OReilly, and Cian Mackey f 0-1 each.

DONEGAL: Shaun Patton; Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Stephen McMenamin; Ryan McHugh, Odhran McFadden-Ferry, Eoghan Ban Gallagher; Hugh McFadden, Jason McGee; Ciaran Thompson, Michael Langan, Niall ODonnell; Paddy McBrearty, Michael Murphy, Jamie Brennan.

Subs: Daire OBaoill for ODonnell 43, Frank McGlynn for N McGee 53, Paul Brennan for McFadden Ferry 61, Oisin Gallen for Thompson 64, Leo McLoone for Langan 70, Caolan Ward for McMenamin 704.

CAVAN: Raymond Galligan; Conor Moynagh, Killian Clarke, Padraig Faulkner; Jason McLoughlin, Ciaran Brady, Conor Rehill; Conor Brady, Gearoid McKiernan; Martin Reilly, Niall Murray, Oisin Kiernan; Gerard Smith, Oisin Pierson, Dara McVeety.

Subs: Stephen Murray for N Murray 29, Cian Mackey for Kiernan HT, Conor Madden for Smith HT, Thomas Galligan for Conor Brady 50, Caoimhin OReilly for Pierson 54, Jack Brady for Rehill 70.

REFEREE: Conor Lane Cork.

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