Galway routed Donegal with a 4-17 to 0-14 Qualifier win at Markievicz Park to set up an the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final showdown with Kerry.
A 15-point margin separated the sides at the end of a remarkable encounter which saw the Tribesmen tear a once-feared defence to shreds.
Two Johnny Heaney goals and a Liam Silke penalty helped Galway to a 3-9 to 0-7 interval lead, and there was no way back for a Donegal outfit that lacked the spark and defiance that has made them one of the top teams in Ireland.
Donegal, who finished with 13 men following black cards to Michael Murphy and Martin McElhinney, while Galway had full back Declan Kyne sent off on a second booking.
Paddy McBrearty had a penalty saved by Bernard Power as the Ulster men bowed out tamely with Danny Cummins completing the job with Galway’s fourth goal.
Galway established a midfield stranglehold through Paul Conroy and Heaney that maintained intense pressure on the Donegal defence throughout the opening half, with spectacular results, as they grabbed three goals in the second quarter to stun the Ulster men.
There were early signs that the famed Tir Chonail defensive system was in trouble, as Sean Armstrong and Shane Walsh broke through for early points.
Michael Murphy stroked over a couple of frees, and Paddy McBrearty’s second point had Rory Gallagher’s men in front for the first time in the 16th minute.
But it all started to fall apart for them two minutes later, when Ian Burke crossed for midfielder Heaney to guide his palmed effort over goalkeeper Mark Anthony McGinley.
Gareth Bradshaw provided a platform for a series of attacks from the Tribesmen, who were growing in confidence with every passing minute.
A patient build-up provided the opening for Heaney to slot over a point, and Armstrong added another from a free.
And in the 27th minute, a rare Murphy mistake saw him leave an attempted back-pass short, and goalkeeper McGinley conceded a penalty, and earned a black card as he tripped the inrushing Thomas Flynn.
Liam Silke slotted the penalty low past replacement ‘keeper Peter Burke, and the Tribesmen led by seven.
Donegal’s plight worsened in stoppage time when another defensive calamity saw possession given away, and Armstrong slipped the ball to Heaney, who punched home for his second goal.
Galway led by a massive 11 points margin, 3-9 to 0-7, at the break, and continued to find ways to prise open the Donegal reargued, adding further scores through Heaney, Armstrong and skipper Gary O’Donnell early in the second half.
Faced with a 14 points deficit, Donegal needed something inspirational, but they lost their leader and captain Michael Murphy to a black card after a challenge on Walsh after 43 minutes.
Martin McElhinney was also black-carded, and Donegal were down to 13 men, manager Rory Gallagher having used his entire quota of substitutes inside the opening 40 minutes.
McBrearty ploughed a lone furrow up front for the men from the north-west, converting a handful of frees, but when Donegal were awarded a penalty for a foul on substitute Marty O’Reilly, the Kilcar man had his kick saved by Bernard Power, who also kept out his second effort on the rebound.
O’Reilly landed his second point, but there was no sign of a Donegal comeback of any substance, and their shortage of manpower was a major handicap.
Galway lost full-back Kyne to two yellow cards in the space of three minutes, but on the plus side, the return of Michael Meehan as a late substitute for his first championship appearance in four years raised one of the biggest cheers of the evening.
The Connacht men finished off a very rewarding outing with scores from Eamon Brannigan, who scored two off the bench, O’Donnell and a late Danny Cummins goal.
Donegal: MA McGinley; P McGrath, N McGee, C Ward; R McHugh, K Gillespie, E Gallagher; J McGee, M McHugh; J Brennan, F McGlynn, E McHugh; P McBearty (0-06, 2f), M Murphy (0-04, 3f, 1 ’45), H McFadden.
Subs: P Boyle for McGinley (BC 25), M Langan (0-01) for Brennan (34), M McElhinney (0-01) for McGlynn (35), K Lacey for Gillespie (h-t), C Thompson for McFadden (41), M O’Reilly (0-02) for E McHugh (41)
Galway: B Power; E Kerin, D Kyne, C Sweeney; G O’Donnell (0-02), G Bradshaw, L Silke; P Conroy (0-01), J Heaney (2-02); Thomas Flynn, M Daly (0-01), I Burke (0-01), S Armstrong (0-06, 4f), D Comer (0-01), S Walsh (0-01).
Subs: D Wynn for Sweeney (BC 59), E Brannigan (0-02) for Walsh (59), D Cummins (1-00) for Daly (62) M Meehan for Comer (67), C McDaid for O’Donnell (71), D Walsh for Bradshaw (71)
Referee: A Nolan (Roscommon).