Shannon Blues 1-15 Donegal 0-16
Shannon Blues pulled out a win in a tremendous display against Donegal. For much of the game it looked as though the northerners held the cards and the advantage, and with Crossmaglen’s Oisin O’Neill in the side, as well as a half back line anchored by Corofin duo Liam Silke and Dylan Wall Donegal looked to have an edge over their opponents. A goal in the second half proved to be the difference in the end as the Blues held on in injury time to win both points, and see Donegal looking at two losses to start the season.
|Michael Carroll challenged by Mike Cottrill of the Blues.|
It was a fast paced opening the game with each side giving as good as they got in the early going. The Blues opened the scoring with a Darragh Roche point – the Glenflesk native was buzzing for the Blues early. Donegal settled into the game and the scores started to flow. O’Neill, at center forward, Michael Carroll and Sean Donnelly started to combine well for the northerners, and Donegal moved the ball at pace from the back. The forwards all contributed to the scoreboard as the men from Tir Chonaill were rolling. The Blues came back into the game towards the end of the half. David Mannix converted a handful of frees, and Paul O’Donoghue scored a beauty from play and followed with a fine dead ball effort from distance. The St. Mary’s Caherciveen man was last seen at corner forward in the red and white of Aidan McAnespies in 2011, but this year lined out in midfield for the Blues. At the half it was a one point Donegal advantage as the Blues narrowed a 4 point deficit in the last few minutes.
|Paul O'Donoghue in motion for the Blues.|
The second half saw Donegal add to their lead with points from Brian Donnelly and O’Neill, but it was a Blues goal in the final quarter that decided it in the end. The Blues were relying on the trusty boot of David Mannix from frees to keep in touch, but as the Blues forced Donegal into fouling in their own back line they took a two point lead. The came the goal. A sweeping move down the right wing was started by Denis McElligott in the half back line. McElligott played a couple of one-two’s and finished the ball into the net to give his side a five point advantage, but there was plenty of time to play. With the clock ticking Donegal increased their level of urgency and pulled themselves back within a goal. O’Neill was the man on target. The Blues were defending now and playing on the counter attack. Another goal chance presented itself for the Blues and this time Hugh Boyle made a great save from Darren Wallace. Donegal still had a chance, and pointed from a high ball into the box, but needed a goal with the game into injury time. The Blues wall held out though, and earn their first win of the season.
Blues: Mike Moriarty, Brian Fanning, Derek O’Brien, Pat Crowley, Mike Cottrill, Denis McElligott, Maurice Young, Paul O’Donoghue, Dara Roche, Darren Wallace, PJ Hand, Mike O’Neill, David Mannix.
Donegal: Hugh Boyle, Neil McEneaney, Niall Keenan, Liam Silke, Jason Noctor, Dylan Wall, Brian Donnelly, Kieran McDevitt, Michael Carroll, Oisin O’Neill, Conor Small, Lee Carr, Sean Donnelly.