By Harry Walsh
THE DONEGAL ’99 squad moved a step closer to the knock out stages of the Inter-League competition following this well deserved victory over neighbours Inishowen at the LYIT grounds in Letterkenny on Saturday afternoon.
Trailing through am early Denver Kelly goal, the hosts replied with goals from Jordan Ryan and Sean McBride to take a 2-1 lead into the break.
Cappry Rovers striker McBride added his second of the afternoon before Dayton Cooke reduced the deficit back to a single goal five minutes from time.
It was left to the prolific McBride to net a fourth goal for Donegal, completing his hat-trick, two minutes from time to complete the scoring.
Donegal travel to Cavan/Monaghan in two weeks time in the knowledge that victory would set up a home tie with Galway in the quarter final stages of the 2014 competition.
Under the guidance of joint managers Paul Callen and Mark McConnell, this same Donegal squad reached the final of the competition two years ago – losing out 2-1 to Cork after extra time in the decider.
That bit older and stronger, the class of 2014 will be looking for another successful run this time around.
The hosts had already squandered a good early chance through Jack Keaney when Inishowen opened the scoring with their first real attack of note – the impressive Denver Kelly firing home a close range volley after James Adair’s free-kick wasn’t cleared by the Donegal defence.
Jeaic McKelvey came close to an equalising score with a diving header and Sean McBride failed to beat Jason McCallion from close range before the ‘keeper produced an excellent save to tip a Conor Gormley header wide of its intended target.
Eight minutes before the break Donegal’s pressure finally paid dividends when Jordan Ryan was well placed to poke the ball home from close range after McKelvey’s initial effort had been blocked.
The Illistrin striker should have had his second goal of the game four minutes later but he headed wide when well placed.
Two minutes from the break Donegal did take the lead though with McBride diving low to head Adam Byrne’s precise cross into the corner of the net.
Donegal continued to dominate possession into the second half with captain Shane Blaney and McBride both going close.
Ten minutes from time McBride found the range once more – his crisp left footed effort giving McCallion no chance.
Donegal ‘keeper Aaron Deeney was left helpless five minutes later when Cooke volleyed home from close range after Bart Weseloski’s trickery on the right created the opening.
Briefly, Inishowen thought about the possibility of securing an unlikely draw before McBride completed his hat-trick on 78 minutes.
It was no more than Donegal deserved and in Jeaic McKelvey and Conor Gavigan they had the game’s two best performers while Denver Kelly and Dayton Cooke always looked threatening for Inishowen despite having to make do with limited possession.
DONEGAL: Aaron Deeney, Calvin O’Brien, Adam Byrne, Conor Gormley, Conor Gavigan, Jordan Ryan, Peader Mogan, Shane Blaney, Jeaic McKelvey, Jack Keaney, Sean McBride. Subs: Shane McNamee for Gormley (59 mins), NP McDaid for Ryan (69 mins), Jerome Angel (79 mins) for McBride and Michael Mulhern for Keaney (79 mins)
INIHSOWEN: Jason McCallion, Brendan Doherty, Conor McGeoghegan, Shane Dillon, Shaun McLaughlin, James Adair, Eunan Mullan, Eunan Tweed, Dayton Cooke, Denver Kelly, Oisin Hession. Subs: Gareth Foynes for Hession (35 mins), Bart Weseloski for Adair (64 mins), Matthew McLaughlin and Khyle Devlin for Doherty and McLaughlin (78 mins) and Ben Doherty for Cooke (79 mins).
REFEREE Joe McHugh, assistants Gerry Gallagher and Vincent McLoughlin.
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