Donegal made home advantage tell as they overcame Derry 2-09 to 0-11 to reach the final of the Dr McKenna Cup at Ballybofey.

A goal in each of the first two quarters were the vital scores as both sides fielded experimental sides due to injury and Sigerson Cup commitments.

There was little between the sides for much of the first half with Derry responding to everything that Donegal produced, before the home team opened a gap late in the second quarter.

Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí had Donegal on the board inside a minute and Jamie Brennan doubled the lead, but Derry would get the next four points as Paul Cassidy and Niall Toner hit a brace each.

Donegal regained the lead just before the first-half water break when a high ball into the Derry area broke to Charles McGuinness and he fired to the net.

Oisin McWilliams levelled once more for Derry before Tony McClenaghan and Paul Cassidy traded scores to leave it all square at 1-03 to 0-06.

Donegal got a second goal when Shane O'Donnell and Jamie Brennan combined to set up Caolan McGonagle to fire to the net on 30 minutes.

Michael Langan converted a free and Shane O'Donnell opened the gap to five points as half-time approached.

Patrick McBrearty, quiet in the opening half, got off the mark from a free while young Lachlan Murray replied for Derry.

Caolan McGonagle replied and Michael Murphy, introduced early in the second half, had his first point in 2022 on 46 minutes to push the lead out to seven, 2-08 to 0-07 by the second-half water break.

Derry did cut the lead with points from Declan Cassidy and two from Lachlan Murray to one from Caolan McGonigle before Anton Tohill, son of a famous Derry legend, Anthony had the final score.

Penalties were needed at the Athletic Grounds

Elsewhere, Monaghan and Armagh could not be separated in the other semi-final as the contest was decided by a penalty shoot-out at the Athletic Grounds.

And it was the Farney County who would advance to face Donegal in this year's final as they beat Armagh 5-4 in the battle of nerves.

The final score at the end of 70 minutes was 15 points apiece with no extra time played, the game going straight to penalties.

Armagh took a four-point, 0-08 to 0-04, half-time lead into the second half, however, it was the visitors who rallied after the break to close the gap and maintain the momentum to secure the shoot-out with David Garland dispatching the deciding kick.

Donegal: S Patton; M Curran, E Gallagher, O McFadden-Ferry (1-00); R McHugh, P Brennan, T McClenaghan (0-01); C McGonagle (1-02), M Langan (0-01,f); C Thompson, S O'Donnell (0-01), J Mac Ceallabhuí (0-01); P McBrearty (0-01,f), C McGuinness, J Brennan (0-01).

Subs: N O’Donnell for J.Brennan (35), M Murphy (0-1f) for McGuinness (43), E Doherty for S.O’Donnell (45), E O’Donnell for McClenaghan (50), B McCole for Curran (52), O Doherty for McFadden-Ferry (55), A Doherty for N.O’Donnell (62), C McGuinness for Langan (67), C McColgan for Mac Ceallabhuí (68).

Derry: C Bradley; S Downey, P McGrogan, C McCloskey; O McWilliams (0-01), C Doherty, M McEvoy; G McKinless, A Tohill (0-01,m); B Herron, C McFaul, P Cassidy (0-02); E Downey (0-02, 1f), L Murray (0-03, 2f), N Toner (0-1).

Subs: E Bradley for E.Downey (15), J Doherty for McEvoy, S Heavron for McFaul, D Cassidy (0-1) for Doherty (all h-t), P Cassidy for McCloskey (45), M McEvoy for Bradley (68).

Referee: S Laverty (Antrim).