DONEGAL 0-12 CORK 1-08
REPORT BY CHRIS MCNULTY AT FR TIERNEY PARK
IT was closer than it ought to have been – but 14-man Donegal held on to put Cork to the sword in Ballyshannon.
When Donegal went five in front at the start of the second half, there looked to be only one victor, but Michael Murphy’s sending off almost altered the course of the game.
The sides were level, five points apiece, at the break and Donegal roared out for the start of the second half when they hit five-in-a-row, including a massive 55m free from Murphy.
Another superb free by the Glenswilly man, arched over from close to the sideline on the 45m line, had Donegal five up before their twine threatened to unravel when Murphy was sent off in the 51st minute.
Already booked following a clash with Jamie O’Sullivan in the first half that saw the full-forward harshly carded, Murphy was sent off for a foul on Eoin Cadogan.
Murphy was black carded against Dublin last time out and there are growing concerns within the Tir Chonaill camp about the treatment being dished out to the Glenswilly man.
After Murphy’s dismissal, Cork came right back at them with Tomas Clancy palming home a goal in the 58th minute. That was as close as they came, though, as Odhrán MacNiallais landed another free from beyond the ’45 and Patrick McBrearty popped over late in the day, at a time when Donegal supporters were watching through the gaps between their fingers.
The sides were level four times in the first half, with three Martin O’Reilly scores the highlight for the hosts on a day when points were very much at a premium. Man of the Match O’Reilly ended with four points and his was an energetic and encouraging display that continued his good form.Donegal have become renowned for their scoring bursts at the start of the second half – and it was no different here with Murphy (2), McBrearty (2) and O’Reilly on the mark.
They were in cruise control, but Murphy’s sending off took the bite from them and Cork saw a way back when Clancy pounced for the goal.
However, the Rebels lost their unbeaten run and Donegal took a big step towards safety with a win that was more hard-fought that it seemed early in the second half.
Donegal gave a late League debut to Joe Gibbons, while Anthony Thompson made his first appearance of the year on a day when McGlynn, Gallagher and O’Reilly were to the fore.
DONEGAL: Paul Durcan; Paddy McGrath, Eamon McGee, Eamonn Doherty; Frank McGlynn, Karl Lacey, Mark McHugh; Neil Gallagher, Christy Toye (0-1); Martin O’Reilly (0-4), Odhrán MacNiallais (0-1, 1f), Ryan McHugh; Patrick McBrearty (0-3, 1f), Michael Murphy (0-3, 3f), Hugh McFadden. Subs: Martin McElhinney for McFadden (half-time), Colm McFadden for Toye (56 mins), Anthony Thompson for Lacey (60 mins), Eamon McGee for Doherty (65 mins), Joe Gibbons for McBrearty (70 mins)
CORK: Ken O’Halloran; Tom Clancy, Michael Shields, James Loughrey; Jamie O’Sullivan, Eoin Cadogan, Tomas Clancy (1-0); Fintan Goold, Mark Collins (0-1); Colm O’Driscoll (0-1), John O’Rourke, Kevin O’Driscoll; Colm O’Neill (0-4, 4f), Donncha O’Connor (0-1, 1f), Brian Hurley (0-1). Subs: Conor Dorman for O’Sullivan (43 mins), Paul Kerrigan for O’Connor (47), Paddy Kelly for C.O’Driscoll (56 mins), John Hayes for K.O’Driscoll (65 mins), Donal Óg Hodnett for O’Rourke (66 mins).
REFEREE: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).