Wolfe Tones 1-6 Donegal 0-12
Donegal took a surprise victory in their first outing of the senior football championship with a well-earned win against last year’s finalist opponents. The Tones fielded a strong looking side, one that looked capable of winning both points with a bit to spare. Things seemed to play to form early on as the Tones scored 1-4 in the opening 15 minutes, and a rout appeared a possibility. However, only 2 more points were scored by the Tones for the remainder of the game as Donegal got a foothold. The dismissal of Jerry Troy with about 20 minutes to go saw Donegal with the extra man to see out the game. Laoisman, Gary Walsh at center forward was an inspiration for Donegal, kicking some vital frees when the northerners needed scores.
|Tones keeper Shane Hayes tackled.|
The first 30 minutes was a “half of two halves”. The opening 15 minutes saw the Tones rattle off 1-4 to no score from Donegal. A whitewash looked on the cards as the Tones sliced open the Donegal defence time and again. The running of Thomas Beckett and Paschal Connell opened up the spaces for the Tones forwards. Chris Sallier converted two frees, and Jerry Troy a point from play before a defence splitting combination involving Beckett and Connell led to a goal from the boot of the Kildare man. Connell added another and it was very much one way traffic at that point.
Donegal came into it to their credit. A couple of very well taken frees from Gary Walsh got the northerners on the board and Donegal settled into the game and began to find their combinations. Walsh added two more, Ashely Carr another and Cian Clinton one more to pull within a point of the Tones. Affairs got a little scrappy with some scuffles breaking out and referee Kieran Cox had to pull the yellow card on a couple of occasions. At the break it was 1-4 to 0-+6 in favour of the Tones.
The second half saw the Tones lost Jerry Troy to an off the ball incident about 10 minutes in, and the Tones never were able to pull themselves back into the game. After Sallier scored an excellent point to double the lead to two points, Donegal went on to control the remainder of the game. The northerners played the possession game to control the clock, and picked off the points as the opportunities presented themselves. Sean Donnelly pointed and was followed by two from Walsh frees – and the sending off came.
John O'Brien and Paschal Connell getting
to know each other.
With the tide in Donegal’s favour the Tones tried to switch things up with several substitutions, to no avail. Donegal finished out the game with 3 Walsh frees on the trot as the Tones defence gave in to fouling as the frustration built up. There was a somewhat controversial end to the game as Donegal led by three points, and the Tones needed a goal. A last minute free was dropped into the crowded box and ball ended up in the back of the net, to the Tones delight. It was Donegal however, who were cheering at the end as after consultation with the umpires, the score was waved off and the Donegal 3 point lead stood.
Tones: Shane Hayes, Diarmuid Bennett, Darren Lawler, Sean Egan, Jack Lynch, Paul Clifford, Paschal Connell, Ronan Jones, Mike O’Brien, Jerry Troy, Thomas Beckett, Ryan O’Neill, Chris Sallier.
Donegal: Hugh Boyle, Aidan O’Sullivan Jason Noctor, Sean Doherty, Jack O’Brien, Neil McEneaney, John Bingham, Cian Clinton, Ciaran McDevitt, Gary Walsh, Sean Doherty, Ashley Carr, Terence Doherty.By Rory O'Donnell