18:45, 16 Jun 2012
Donegal 2-13 Derry 0-09
With 10 points to spare at the end of another confident attacking display, Donegal have surely shaken off the critics who lambasted their defensive strategy last season.
The Tir Chonaill system has move on, evolved into a confident counter-attacking game to which Derry had no answer.
An added bonus from this Ulster SFC triumph was the return of Michael Murphy, who made a low-key comeback with three points from frees, and they will look forward to a semi-final clash with Tyrone with some confidence.
The Donegal defence snuffed out Derry's attacking threat, and could have had a third goal late on to add polish to what was a hugely impressive victory which saw nine players get their names on the scoresheet.
It was always a struggle for Paddy Bradley and his attacking colleagues against a packed Donegal defence, and they managed just one point from play in the first half.
Colm McFadden got Donegal off the mark with an early free, and while Mark Lynch did by-pass the defensive wall by shooting an excellent long range point, it was the home side which seized control of the game.
McFadden landed another free, and with Paddy McBrearty and David Walsh also rounding off purposeful counter-attacks with points, before Anthony Thompson made it 0-5 to 0-2 in the 27th minute, the Ulster champions were beginning to look the part after a slow start.
Debutants Mark Craig and John McCamley justified their selection in the Derry defence with some impressive work, and they trailed by just two points when Paddy Bradley converted his second free of the afternoon.
But Donegal struck for a goal in the 30th minute. It was McFadden who made the scything run, cutting the ball back for Leo 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 1-6 to 0-4.
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)
Referee: M Duffy (Sligo).