The long pilgrimage to Cork turned out well as Donegal took full points from their meeting with the Rebels.
Donegal were much the better side and their second half performance, as they came from six points down, would warm the cockles of your heart on what was a biting cold day in Pairc Uí Rinn.
The second half performance was right up their with last year’s Ulster final against Fermanagh and the championship meeting with Roscommon last summer in Hyde Park.
Michael Murphy and Ryan McHugh were brilliant and Michael seems to be more content to stay at full-forward where he is almost unstoppable.
He did come out the field a number of times but he did spend most time in at the edge of the square.
Hugh McFadden and McGonagle put in a big shift against what was a good Cork midfield. Stephen McMenamin played well at corner-back and Dáire Ó Baoill took awhile to settle after coming on but he had a really good second half and gave a great pass for the goal.
Paddy McGrath came on at half-time and made an impact though I was sorry for Caolan Ward, the man he replaced, because he was having a good enough game.
Leo McLoone had another good outing at centre-half-back. He held the middle well and made a number of forays up the field.
Niall O’Donnell kicked three brilliant points.
Oisin Gallen is only 18 but he had his moments and Jamie Brennan scored 1-2 and had a good game. But as I have been saying right through the league there is more in him.
Overall it was a good performance especially in the second half though they played well too in the first half. But they were wasteful in front of the posts.
Cork are in deep trouble. But in fairness to them they are a better team than their results suggest. They have a number of quality footballers especially in the forward line.
Ruairi Deane, Luke Connolly and Eoghan Sweeney are all quality forwards.
Ian Maguire and Killian O’Hanlon in the middle of the field are two fine midfielders.
They certainly, with quality like that, should not be where they find themselves facing the drop to Division Three.
Donegal are coming on nicely and a win now against Kildare next weekend will put us in a strong position for promotion, although we will be relying on Meath to defeat Fermanagh.
If we achieve that it will be a good league campaign. The older players are coming back into the reckoning. Michael Murphy and Leo McLoone returned in the last couple of weeks and Paddy McGrath returned at the weekend and I saw Frank McGlynn was in the subs and Neil McGee got a short piece of action in the closing minutes.
LADIES WELL BEATEN
The ladies were short a number of key players and were no match for Cork in the curtain raiser. In fairness to them they stuck with Cork for much of the first half before the goals came.
In truth their four points did not truly reflect their play on the field. But they are in a good position. They have more or less qualified for the semi-final and when they get their players back they will be a different kettle of fish.
Finally, this week my condolences to the Blake family in Letterkenny and the St Eunans club on the death of Raymond Blake.
I have known Raymond for years and he was a good GAA man and from a good Donegal sporting family.
Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack
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