Donegal reach All Ireland quarter-final for sixth successive season

Donegal flag

All Ireland Senior Championship qualifier, Round 2b, result: Donegal 0-21 (21) v 1-15 (18) Cork

Donegal beat Cork this afternoon to reach the All Ireland quarter-final and banish the disappointment of losing the Ulster Final to Tyrone.

Today’s victory means it is the sixth successive season that they have made the last eight and now face Dublin in the quarter-final next weekend.

It was a quickfire start to this All Ireland Senior Championship qualifier with both sides knocking in the points early to tie the game at two points each after three minutes.

Cork struck first and, after they were pegged back by two points from man of the match Paddy McBrearty, the Rebel County continued to add to their tally to keep Donegal behind or level.

When Cork scored a goal from play on 16 minutes, the score was Donegal 0-04 (4) Cork 1-06 (9).

The goal signalled a fantastic comeback by Donegal, a response that would eventually see them overhaul the five-point deficit and briefly take the lead towards the end of the first half.

A double from Eoin McHugh started the fight back, Paddy McBrearty knocked over three more to take his tally to seven points for the game, and then Michael Murphy scored his first of the game, followed by a first for Ryan McHugh to tie the game at Donegal 0-10 (10) v 1-07 (10) Cork.

Karl Lacey then popped up with his first of the game and it was a crucial score because it put Donegal in front for the first time in the half.

It meant Donegal had scored eight points in 11 minutes compared to Cork’s one point.

The lead lasted one minute as Cork quickly equalised and they pointed again to reclaim the lead for a one-point advantage at the interval.

It was Donegal 0-11 v Cork 0-12 at half-time.

Donegal started brightly in the second half, with Frank McGlynn drawing the sides level.

Cork hit back, but Donegal’s Frank McBrearty equalised, Cork went ahead again, Ryan McHugh equalised, Cork edged ahead once more, and Odhran McNiallais pegged them back.

It ebbed and flowed like this in favour of Cork, who then opened a two-point gap, but Paddy McBrearty and Eoin McHugh drew the sides level on Donegal 0-15 (15) Cork 1-14(17).

Christy Toye then came on in place of Anthony Thompson, just as Paddy McBrearty pointed for Donegal to take the lead.

The one-point advantage was turned in to a two-point lead four minutes later thanks to Michael Murphy and then Ryan McHugh delivered the killer blow to Cork.

The score was Donegal 0-20 (20) v 1-14 (17) Cork to leave the Rebel County trailing by three points and they could not overturn Donegal’s momentum during the following six minutes of injury time.

Paddy McBrearty extended the gap to four, Cork pulled one back, but the three-point lead was enough as Donegal ran out winners: Donegal 0-21 (21) v 1-15 (18) Cork.