DONEGAL LEAGUE 2
THE Donegal League have been knocked out of the Oscar Traynor Cup following a 2-2 draw with Sligo-Leitrim on Sunday afternoon in MacSharry Park, Sligo.
Brian Dorrian’s men will feel hard done by as they were the superior team in the second-half and were on the wrong end of some dubious decisions.
The scoring was opened through a Jason Noctor own goal, but Kyle Black responded to make it level. Christopher Kelly made it 2-1 to the home side before Black doubled his tally for the afternoon.
The hosts showed a sign of intent inside the opening minute when Keith Nibbs crossed for the onrushing Michael Casey, but the midfielder was just behind the ball as it arrived.
Nibbs had an opportunity of his own moments later when Niall Brennan slipped him through, however Lee White was on hand to deny the winger.
Sligo-Leitrim’s early pressure paid dividends in the 12th minute when a Christopher Kelly corner struck the standing leg of his former Sligo Rovers team-mate, Jason Noctor. The ‘keeper was completely wrong-sided and could do nothing to prevent the own goal.
Falling behind produced a reaction from the visitors as they created their first chance five minutes after falling behind.
Dara Patton created space on the left to deliver a ball for Damian Crossan whose header was saved by Martin Ward.
They came even closer again moments later when Benny McLaughlin flashed an effort narrowly wide of the target.
Donegal continued to press and finally made found an equaliser in the 25th minute.
A big ball forward found Kyle Black in acres of space. He pushed out to the left flank before cutting back inside and beating his man before rounding his run off with a fine finish at the near post.
The game would remain on level terms for less than a minute however as Kelly restored the home side’s lead with an excellent strike from just outside the box.
Donegal responded magnificently again and made it 2-2 on the stroke of the half hour mark through Black who scored his second of the game.
Once again running on to a long ball, the striker who made a big impression on the day showed great composure to take the ball around the Sligo-Leitrim ‘keeper twice before popping it over the line.
The last chance of the half fell for the home team when Kelly picked out Nibbs who tried to score a similar effort to Black’s second, but White stood strong to keep him out.
The first incident of note in the second half proved to be one of controversy when a free-kick was met and headed home by a Donegal player only to be ruled out for offside.
There was further outrage from the visitors dugout on the hour mark when Black appeared to have been hauled down by Damien Shannon who was the last man back, however the referee saw nothing doing.
For his last action of the game, Patton came agonisingly close to scoring when he rose highest to meet a cross but his fine header was met by a super Ward save.
McLaughlin almost made it 3-2 in spectacular fashion when tried his luck with a free-kick 30 yards from goal but he could only rattle the crossbar.
Benny’s namesake on the opposing side found himself in trouble with minute’s to go when Ross McLoughlin was shown a straight red for kicking out at a player after being fouled.
Damian Crossan and Black tried to make their dominant possession and extra man count with a couple of late chances but could not break Sligo-Leitrim’s resistance once more.
Sligo-Leitrim: Martin Ward; Niall McKenna, Sean Purcell, Damien Shannon, Aaron Murrin; Colin Jinks, Ross McLoughlin, Christopher Kelly, Keith Nibbs, Michael Casey; Niall Brennan.
Substitutes: Danny O’Leary, Killian Sweeney, Jake McCrann, Dylan Conboy, Gerry Brennan, Joe Cobb, Sean Pender.
Donegal: Lee White; Eoin Sheridan, Ryan Shields, Jason Noctor, Matthew Crossan; Philip Whyte, Damian Crossan, Gary Crossan, Benny McLaughlin; Kyle Black, Dara Patton.
Substitutes: Kevin Kelly, Shane O’Rourke, Kevin McGrath, Shea Coyle, Richie Moore, Gary Merritt, Ryan McFadden.
Man of the Match: Kyle Black.