Donegal 1-16 Connemara Gaels 1-9
Paul Mannion is pursued by Mikey Kerr
Donegal made it two wins out of two with a fairly comprehensive win against a Connemara Gaels side that kept going till the end. At the break the leg work was done by the Donegal man, and even though the Gaels put up a much better showing in the second 30 minutes, turning the tables would be a long shot. Paul Mannion and Ciaran McFaul in the forward line for Donegal showed their class with some great scores, and the back line kept the door closed and did not allow the Gaels the opportunity to put a string of scores together.
Donegal enjoyed the upper hand for the first half. With the outlet of Paul Mannion lined out at corner forward, and Ciaran McFaul on the 45, there were plenty of scoring options for the Donegal men. Three points opened the game for Donegal before the Gaels got on the board with a James Garrity effort. Donegal answered with another 3 points before the Gaels got their second, with Mannion and McFaul on the mark, and the signs were ominous for the Connemara men. Sean Lambe attacked with purpose from wing back for Donegal and when needed, the Donegal defence were in front of their men to put a stop to anything remotely promising. The Gaels did manage to engineer a goal chance, but Hugh Boyle was equal to the task and saved well from Sullivan.
Matt Sullivan watched by Jason Noctor
Donegal struck with a goal before half time. Another Gaels attack was broken up and Mannion showed great patience to wait for the incoming Shane Carthy who had the simplest of finishes to palm into the open net. The Gaels had started Matt Sullivan at corner forward, and it was not till the end of the half that the move paid any dividends. Sullivan struck two points before half time and Ger Davoran another to make it a seven point game at the half, Donegal 1-9 Gaels 0-5.
The second half saw the teams cancel each other out in the opening exchanges. Garrity and Sullivan pointed for the Gaels and Mannion and Carthy for Donegal. Another goal chance fell for the Gaels, and again, Boyle was equal to the task with a fine save from Garrity. The Gaels fared much better in the defensive stakes and forced a number of turnovers, but converting them into scores to make a dent in the Donegal lead was the challenge. Donegal had done the legwork already.
With less than 10 minutes to go Sean Conneeley saw a second yellow following a tired challenge, and the Gaels were down a man to see out the game. With 7 points between the teams, and the affair more or less decided, the westerners continued to try and find the openings, while Donegal just needed to see it out. The Gaels won a penalty after Matt Sullivan was brought down by Boyle as he tried to side step the Donegal keeper with a few minutes to go, but in the process also lost Sullivan to a second yellow as the Kerry man’s retaliation was penalized. Garrity dispatched the penalty well, however with the 2 man advantage, Donegal made it up three points on the trot to see out the game. A second win for Donegal and Gaels and McAnespies will battle for second spot in the table next week.
Gaels: Sean Fox, Aaron Duffy, Jack Coyne, Michael Coyne, Jack Lynch, Callum Holland, Mikey Kerr, Ger Davoran, Colman Mulkerrin, Ryan Caffrey, Sean Conneely, Matt Sullivan, James Garrity. Donegal: Hugh Boyle, Jason Noctor, Kieran Tobin, Sean Lambe, Jack O’Brien, Aidan O’Sullivan, Cory Gallagher, Shane Carthy, Sean Winston, Ciaran McFaul, Jack Boyle, Paul Mannion, Ciaran McDevitt.
By Rory O'Donnell