Cork 0-12 Donegal 0-10
From Chris McNulty in Cork
DONEGAL fly home to Carrickfinn tonight on the back of a tense two-point defeat after Cork hit seven points in a row in a second half purple patch at Pairc Ui Rinn.
In a scrappy encounter, it was Cork who made the most headway, despite losing ace forward Colm O’Neill to what seemed a serious injury in the 18th minute.
Cork trailed by two points at the break, but Conor Counihan’s side turned the tables on Donegal with a more economical display in part two, where they landed seven on the spin between the 45th and 65th minutes.
A score by Andrew O’Sulluvan had five between them, before a Donegal fightback yielded scores from Murphy and McFadden (2), with the latter’s second coming from a free when he was hauled back by Eoin Cadogan, a foul which the referee, David Coldrick, deemed to have been just outsider the square.
Although Mark McHugh (calf) and Anthony Thompson (hamstring) failed in their bids to make the starting XV, Donegal were boosted with Neil Gallagher being passed fit to take his station at centrefield.
Donegal posted one change to the team that defeated Kerry emphatically in Ballybofey last weekend with Dermot Molloy handed a first start of the campaign at the expense of Ryan McHugh, who is due to line out against Tyrone in the Ulster Under 21 Championship on Wednesday night.
Colm O’Neill had posted two excellent scores for Cork in the first eight minutes to keep his team to within the minimum, but there was an extremely disconcerting sight for the Rebels when a stretcher was called for the Ballyclough full-forward in the 18th minute.
As he scampered to fetch possession close to the left touchline when the legs went from beneath him and the player – who has already suffered the agony of two cruciate injuries – left the field in some distress.
O’Neill’s brace came after a quick-fire start from Donegal saw Murphy post two identical frees, either side of a neat Patrick McBrearty point.
Colm McFadden restored a two-point cushion for Donegal with a free after he’d been fouled himself, but Barry O’Driscoll responded in the 12th minute for what would prove to be Cork’s final score of what was a frustrating opening half for the hosts.
Donegal, for their part, didn’t make much headway either and they would manage just one further score themselves – a brilliant effort by Dermot Molloy in the 23rd minute.
Declan Walsh and Colm McFadden carved the chance with Molloy lethally pulling the trigger from the chalk of the ’45.
The teams shared 13 wides in a forgettable first half – seven for Cork and six for Donegal – which was marred by the injury to O’Neill and after which Donegal led 0-5 to 0-3.
The teams were level by the 12th minute of the second half, when Liam Shorten popped over after a good move by the home team. Paul Kerrigan, Paudie Kissane and Mark Collins were previously on the mark as Cork got back on an even keel, with Donncha O’Connor now on as a sub.
Cork led for the first time in the 57th minute when Andrew O’Sullivan smartly fisted over after Kissane’s long ball had found Kerrigan.
Shorten lengthened the lead when he stroked over after an effort from the corner-back Michael Shields struck an upright while midfielder Aidan Walsh made it a three-point game (0-10 to 0-7) with eight minutes remaining on the watch.
The clincher came when Walsh landed a stunning effort from the right touchline on the ’45 a minute later and Collins fired over a free soon after, before spirited Donegal came back with a kick that fell just short.
Cork: K O’Halloran; M Shields, J O’Sullivan, E Cadogan; P Kissane (0-1), N O’Leary, T Clancy; G Canty, A Walsh (0-2); F Goold, A O’Sullivan (0-1), M Collins (0-2, 1f); B O’Driscoll (0-1), C O’Neill (0-2), P Kerrigan (0-1). Subs: L Shorten (0-2) for O’Neill (18 mins), D O’Connor for Goold (45 mins), A O’Connor for J.O’Sullivan (60 mins), E O’Mahony for Canty (65 mins), D Goulding for A.O’Sullivan (70 mins).
Donegal: P Durcan; P McGrath, N McGee, E McGee; D Walsh, F McGlynn, L McLoone; R Kavanagh, M Murphy (0-5, 4f, 1 ‘45); R Wherity, R Bradley, N Gallagher; P McBrearty (0-1), D Molloy (0-1), C McFadden (0-3, 2f, 1 ‘45). Subs: M McElhinney for Molloy (53 mins), R McHugh for Wherity (53 mins)
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).
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