Aidan McAnespies 2-16 Donegal 2-10
McAnespies went 2 for 12 with a tough battle against a dogged Donegal side who they just could not shake for most of the game. Even after Donegal lost key player Gary Walsh to a hamstring injury they kept the Macs line on edge with some spirited play. McAnespies proved too strong in the end, and some late scores from Anthony Cournane and Evan Cronin sealed the win.
Just like last week, Donegal went behind early in the game. A goal and two points were on the board for McAnespies before Donegal scored. The goal came within a minute, Barry Kerr found himself on the edge of the box with the keeper to beat, and the center back made sure with his shot. Tony Brosnan and Robbie Smyth followed with points and it was Macs 5 to the good.
Anthony Cournane netted late in the game
to end Donegal's hopes.
Like last week, Donegal got off the mark with a pointed free from Gary Walsh. However, this is where the similarities stopped with last Sunday. McAnespies kept the pressure on Donegal with sweeping runs from the half back line. Mickey Boyle and Barry Kerr were not shy about getting forward. A Tony Brosnan point came from a Boyle run, and Barry Kerr put a monster point over late in the half.
Donegal kept in touch thanks to a couple of good saves from Hugh Boyle and the free taking of Walsh. Donegal had a bit of bad luck as, after Walsh pulled a free kick wide, it looked as though he also pulled a hamstring and had to leave play. McAnespies kept the pressure on, another point from O’Connell was the result of a direct running move, and was followed by another from Dr. Crokes man, Brosnan, and one from Evan Cronin before half time. At the break it was a commanding 1-10 to 0-7 lead for the McAnespies.
A goal in the middle of the second half fired things up just when it began to look as though the teams might be happy to play it out. The teams had traded 2 points apiece up to that point, and with 6 points in it and their main man on the line one might have understood had Donegal accepted their fate. Not so however. A free from Clinton hit high off the post and Nicky Kelly, who had come on for the injured Walsh, fisted the ball into the net.
Macs did not get rattled though. Tony Brosnan put more than the score in it with a wonderful point with 10 minutes to go. Donegal tried to keep up their efforts going forward, but the Kerryman pointed a free that he won himself soon afterwards as McAnespies played him in isolation on the 14. Peter O’Connell stepped up with some well won ball and McAnespies also covered the gaps in the back line, and now Donegal’s attacks petered out before any chances opened up. A goal from Anthony Cournane put the nail in the Donegal coffin as a great Niall Toner run created the opening. Kelly netted a second late on, but the Macs had done enough to reach safety. A good win for McAnespies in the face of a Donegal team who are putting in some spirited performances.
Macs: Robbie Croft, Conor Maunsell, Ronan Murphy, Mickey Boyle, Barry Kerr, Oisin McConvey, Declan Hughes, Shane O’Brien, Peter O’Connell, Evan Cronin, Anthony Cournane, Robbie Smyth, Tony Brosnan.Donegal: Hugh Boyle, Aidan O’Suillivan, Jason Noctor, Sean Doherty, John Bingham, Neil McEneaney, Jack O’Brien, Cian Clinton, Ciaran McDevitt, Gary Walsh, Sean Doherty, Ashley Carr, Terence Doherty.
By Rory O'Donnell