Gaoth Dobhair (Donegal) 3-11 Cargin (Antrim) 1-13
Gaoth Dobahir progressed to an Ulster Club SFC semi-final meeting with Crossmaglen following a hard-earned four-point win over a stubborn Cargin outfit at Corrigan Park on Sunday afternoon.
First-half goals from Kevin Cassidy and Cian Mulligan had the Donegal champions 10 points ahead at the break, but Cargin launched a storming comeback after the break with Paul McCann bagging a goal soon after his introduction.
It took a late goal from Michael Carroll to finally put the game beyond the Antrim side with the winners adding just 1-1 to the tally in the second half.
Gaoth Dobhair started without Donegal star Odhrán Mac Niallais and they suffered a further blow in the opening minute when centre-back Kieran Gillespie was forced off the pitch on a stretcher with a knee injury.
After a five-minute delay, the game resumed with Gaoth Dobhair leading 0-5 to 0-3 after an entertaining first quarter with both teams playing swift, counter-attacking football.
Former Donegal ace Kevin Cassidy was proving a handful in the early stages, plundering 0-3 from play from full-forward while the lively Jamie Gribbin hit two early points for Cargin.
The Antrim champions were struggling to secure primary possession from their own kick-outs with Gaoth Dobhair bossing the midfield exchanges.
The Donegal champions moved 0-8 to 0-5 clear with 28 minutes played via a point from Eamonn Collum before Cassidy got on the end of a great sweeping move to palm the ball into the net with Cian Mulligan supplying the final pass.
Mulligan then finished a carbon-copy of their first major when he landed his side’s second goal in stoppage time at the end of the first half to leave Gaoth Dobhair 2-10 to 0-6 ahead at the break.
From being in complete control, it took Gaoth Dobhair 18 minutes to score again in the second half as Cargin mounted a rousing comeback.
Michael McCann and Gribbin raised white flags before the Cargin youngster was forced off through injury. His replacement, Paul McCann, made an immediate impact as he scored a well-worked goal to reduce the gap to five.
The Toome men maintained their push with further points from Michael McCann and Justin Crozer before Seamus Ó Baoill ended his side’s scoring drought with a converted free.
Cargin managed to cut the cap to two points with 56 minutes played with James Laverty and Tomás McCann (free) scoring.
However, their prospects of completing a comeback were ended with Michael Caroll got on the end of a patient move to palm the ball past John McNabb while Cargin finished the game with 14 men with defender Donagh McKeever picking up a second booking late on.
Gaoth Dobhair also had a man sent to the line with Gavin McBride making a claim for the fastest black card in Gaelic Football after being cited for a third-man tackle on Laverty within 20 seconds of taking to the pitch.
Cargin: J McNabb; D McKeever, M Kane (0-1), G McCorley; T Scullion, J Crozier (0-1), J Laverty (0-1); G McCann (0-1), M McCann (0-2); J Carron, J Gribbin (0-3), C Bradley; E McGrogan (0-1), M Magill, T McCann (0-2, 0-2fs).
Subs: K Close for Magill (30 + 3 mins), P McCann (1-1) for Gribbin (39mins), O McAuley for McGrogan (57 mins).
Gaoth Dobhair: C Sweeney; G McFadden, N McGee, C McFadden; N Friel, C Gillespie; S Ó Baoill (0-1, 0-1f); D Ó Baoill, E McGee (0-1); C Mulligan (1-1), N Ó Baoill, D McBride; E Collum (0-2), K Cassidy (1-3), M Carroll (1-3).
Subs: P McGee for Gillespie (5 mins), S Carroll for McBride (47 mins), S Farrell for Collum (58 mins), G McBride for N Ó Baoill (61 mins), C Mac Eachmarchaigh for G McBride (Black Card 61 mins).
Referee: Paul Faloon (Down)