Peerless Patrick McBrearty guides Donegal to All-Ireland quarter-final

The Donegal forward scored 11 points this evening as the Ulster finalists overcame Cork

Patrick McBrearty

Image: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan 

Cork 1-15

Donegal 0-21

Patrick McBrearty registered 11 points this afternoon to help guide Donegal to the All-Ireland quarter-final at Croke Park.

Rory Gallagher's side will now come up against reigning champions Dublin and will be happy to put their Ulster final defeat to Tyrone behind them.

In the context of this season, it was an usually high scoring game from both sides and it was McBrearty who kept his side in the game long enough for them to pull away in the second half. 

Cork had the best of the opening exchanges and rushed into an early two point lead thanks to Tom Clancy and Kevin O'Driscoll. McBrearty notched a brace of consecutive points to draw Donegal level before Sean Powter produced one of the first quality moments of the game.

The forward picked up possession just inside the 45 metre line and drove at the Donegal defence, which seemed to part to carve a route through. He was put under late pressure and was forced to take a point rather than going for goal.

It wouldn't be long, however, until Donegal would be picking the ball out of the back of their own net.

McBrearty took his tally to 0-4 to keep Donegal within touching distance before Paul Kerrigan proved why he is so vital to this Cork team.

He slotted over a point and then finished a swift Cork attack shortly after when a diagonal run saw him get a yard of space ahead of his marker inside the big square. He cut inside and drove his shot off the laces into the top corner of the net.

What should have given Cork a platform on which to build actually saw Donegal finally grow into the game. McBrearty notched a seventh before Michael Murphy opened his account for the afternoon and Ryan McHugh followed suit with a sumptuous curling effort to draw the Ulster finalists level. 

Before the break, Karl Lacey and Tom Clancy exchanged scores, while Murphy sent two excellent scoring opportunities wide. He opted to go from hands and off the deck while lining up two frees, but the result was the same. 

They would rue these misses as just before the break Donncha O'Connor slotted over to give Cork the most slender of half-time leads. 


Paul Kerrigan celebrates his goal in the opening half of the game

Shooting from both sides deteriorated in the second half, but the sides continued to chip away at each other. Ryan McHugh and Frank McGlynn continued to chip in with scores to take the pressure of McBrearty, while Aidan Walsh landed a fine arching score to keep Cork hopes alive.

McBrearty then landed his 10th score of the afternoon to nudge Donegal in front and from there they drove on. Rory Gallagher's side kept Cork scoreless for 15 minutes and Michael Murphy split the points to give them a two-point cushion.

Ryan McHugh all but killed off the contest with a late score, after Ciaran Gillespie produced a fine block to prevent Cork scoring late on. 

McBrearty was blacked carded late on but left the pitch to a deserved standing ovation, but not before he scored the point of the day with an incredible effort on the turn over his right shoulder, his 7th from play.

An incredible performance from the Chíll Chartha clubman, a performance he'll need to replicate if Donegal are challenge Dublin on August 6th.