Derry's Kate Higgins and Orla Keon battle for possession. (Pic: Joe Boland/North West Newspix)
ULSTER LADIES MFC
An impressive Derry were undone by two first half Donegal goals and a stout second half defence by the home side in this enthralling Ulster Championship first round battle in Glenfin on Wednesday evening.
The visitors can take a lot of positives from a game that was there for the taking and they'll feel was theirs for the taking.
It was Derry who opened the scoring in the first minute, but Donegal went 0-3 to 0-1 ahead through a free from Doherty and two lovely points from Brenda Carr and Shauna Higgins.
Derry’s Clodagh Moore responded with an equally well-taken point, before Doherty was set on her way to score a great goal to the top right corner of the net after great work by Shannon Leech and midfielders Catherine Campbell and Orla Keon.
Donegal had a number of wides (six in all in the first half) and they were left rueing those missed opportunities when Derry hit back through a goal, scoring from a rebound after a save by Donegal goalkeeper Orla Corry.
Brenda Carr, Shauna Higgins, Doherty again and St Naul’s Catherine Campbell (with a wonder point from distance) had Donegal leading 2-8 to 1-5 at the break when they should have been much further ahead.
Derry threw everything they had at Donegal in the second half, hitting five points with the home side managing just two, through Higgins and Carr.
Donegal hit too many wides in the second half too, but the real story of the final quarter was the Donegal defence. Ellen Canavan, Nadine Gallagher and Aoibha McDaid were outstanding alongside the player of the match, St Naul’s Caoilfhinn Deely who mopped up wave after wave of Derry attacks.
As Donegal tired, sub Caoimhe Cunningham was superb in helping to keep the ball in the Derry half, preventing the visitors from carrying out further attacks.
The game was a superb advertisement for Minor county ladies football in Ulster; with Derry showing huge improvements again, and taking almost all their opportunities at points.
DONEGAL: Orla Corry; Nadine Gallagher, Aibhe McDaid, Ellen Canavan; Clodagh Sheerin, Shauna Higgins, Sinead McIltyre; Shannon Leech; Aine Doherty; Sophie McFeely, Caoilfhinn Deely, Orla Keon; Catherine Campbell, Caoimhe Doherty, Caoimhe McGlynn
SUBS: Tara Breslin, Brenda Carr, Codie Walsh, Alisha Tobin, Katelyn Doherty, Sinead McBride, Caoimhe Cunningham, Caoimhe Brennan, Chelsea Gormon, Bonnie McLaughlin, Erin O'Loughlin, Jenny McGettigan, Ciara McGarvey, Aoibheann O'Connell, Ciara O'Donnell
DERRY: Ellie Conway; Megan McGill, Anna McDaid, Kate Gallagher; Ellie McIlmoyle, Kate Gribbin, Anna Kilpatrick; Kate Higgins, Caoimhe McCloskey; Cassie Loughran, Clodagh Moore, Dara McKeever; Maeve Mooney, Orla McGeough, Ciara Scullion
SUBS: Sian Harris, Jodie Canning, Emma Connolly, Mollie McCloskey, Aine Young, Niamh Martin, Eva Small, Erin McKeever, Sara Doyle, Catherine Cassidy, Annie Madden, Ellie McCafferty, Caoimhe Barr, Leah Boyce, Amy Rose Mulligan
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