Donegal easily overcame Derry, 2-13 to 0-09, to set up an Ulster SFC semi-final meeting with Tyrone.
Donegal’s massed defence frustrated Derry, and Leo McLoone’s 30th minute goal helped them to a 1-06 to 0-04 interval lead.
Colm McFadden netted a second goal, and the Oak Leaf response never materialised, with nine different Donegal players getting their names on the scoresheet.
The Donegal 2012 prototype looks infinitely more promising than last year’s negative, ultra-defensive version, and Jim McGuinness’ side genuinely look the part as they set about making a major challenge.
They dismantled Derry’s challenge with ease and some style at MacCumhaill Park..
McGuinness has his team purring, his players performing with assurance and confidence, comfortable in a game plan that suits their more stubborn tendencies yet accommodates their ambition and ability.
McFadden’s second-half goal exemplified the Donegal way, a turnover around the middle of the field which sparked a devastating counter-attack and finished with the expertise of a predatory striker.
Derry laboured against Donegal’s massed defence throughout the first half, with Paddy Bradley constantly shadowed by two markers, and unable to have any impact on the game.
Mark Lynch did bypass the green and yellow wall with a long range point to cancel out McFadden’s early free, but it was otherwise a frustrating time for the Oak Leaf attack.
Their defence, however, battled manfully against a Donegal attack fortified by willing runners from the back, with full back Neil McGee and wing back Anthony Thompson always willing to get forward, the former kicking a neat point.
That 27th minute score made it 0-5 to 0-2, with McFadden, David Walsh and Paddy McBrearty also landing scores.
But debutants Mark Craig and John McCamley justified their selection with some excellent defending, and they trailed by just two points until Donegal struck for a goal on the half-hour.
It was McFadden who made the scything run, cutting the ball back for McLoone to net from close range.
Bradley was restricted to shots on goal from free kicks, and managed three conversions, but at the break, his side trailed by 1-06 to 0-04.
Frank McGlynn became the second Donegal defender to get on the scoresheet, and in the 44th minute, the classic counter-attack gave Donegal their second goal.
Joe Diver was dispossessed around midfield, and as they broke at searing pace, the ball was moved from McGlynn to McLoone, who sent McFadden in for a bullet-like finish past Barry Gillis.
Murphy continued patiently with his low-key but encouraging return to action with a third converted free, and Ryan Bradley became the ninth Donegal player to score, while at the other end, Bradley broke his duck with a first from play.
Both sides came close to grabbing goals in the closing stages. Paddy McBrearty’s low shot rolled against the butt of a post, before Lynch brought a wonderful save from Paul Durcan.
Donegal scorers: C McFadden L McLoone 1-0, M Murphy 0-3 (3f), P McBrearty, D Walsh 0-2 each, R Bradley, N Gallagher, A Thompson, F McGlynn
Derry scorers: P Bradley 0-6 (5f), M Lynch, SL McGoldrick, E Bradley (’45) 0-1 each.
Donegal: P Durcan, P McGrath, N McGee, F McGlynn, E McGee, K Lacey, A Thompson, N Gallagher, R Bradley, D Walsh, M McHugh, L McLoone, C McFadden, M Murphy, P McBrearty.
Subs: S Griffin for McFadden (66), D Molloy for McLoone (66)
Derry: B Gillis, J McCamley, C McCaigue, SL McGoldrick, B McGoldrick, M Craig, E Scullion, J Diver, M Friel, G O’Kane, M Lynch, E Lynn, C Gilligan, P Bradley, E McGuckin.
Subs: M Donaghy for McCamley (43), Patsy Bradley for Lynn (45), E Bradley for Gilligan (53), C Kielt for O’Kane (54), E Bradley for Diver (61)