NFL Div 1: Donegal 1-7 Cork 0-6
Donegal opened their win account in Division 1 after beating Cork in a lacklustre encounter at Ballybofey this afternoon.
The talismanic Michael Murphy announced his return for Donegal by firing home a goal after just 24 seconds.
The hosts failed to build on their flying start and scores from Aidan Walsh and Mark Collins had an improving Cork just 1-2 to 0-4 behind at half-time.
But although the Rebels edged ahead on the resumption, Murphy and Colm McFadden helped the Tir Chonaill men take the spoils.
Karl Lacey delivered the ball into Murphy almost from the throw-in and he made no mistake as he powered the ball home beyond the reach of Cork goalkeeper Ken O'Halloran.
Despite the early goal, the hosts were on the back foot for most of the first 35 minutes. Cork dominated the opening half but took 13 minutes to register their first score.
Aidan Walsh, who started in place of Alan O'Connor at midfield, opened the visitors' account by finishing off a three-man move to put the ball over the bar.
In the batle of territory, it was Cork who gained most of the ground early on. Donncha O'Connor narrowed the deficit to the minimum after 23 minutes before Donegal's Frank McGlynn and Cork centre-forward Mark Collins traded scores within a minute of each other.
The Rebels finally drew level with Colm O'Neill's first point of the day, a well-taken effort from the right side of the field. Donegal still went in a point to the good at the break though.
McFadden, who was a physical force all day long, won a free outside the 21. Murphy converted it to give the home side a slender advantage heading into the second half.
The visitors looked stronger on the resumption and scores from Paddy Kelly and O'Neill gave Conor Counihan's men a deserved lead.
Murphy, however, would turn the game in the final half hour. Two more points from him, including a sweetly-struck '45', put the home side back in front.
Having switched from full-forward to midfield, he then turned creator to orchestrate scores for McFadden and substitute Martin O'Reilly either side of a Lacey point.
Cork's half backs, who had proved vital to their scoring run either side of the break, found it increasingly difficult to surge forward.
A late charge for goal by the visitors proved fruitless and the home team held on comfortably for a much-needed league victory.
DONEGAL: Paul Durkan; Frank McGlynn (0-1), Paddy McGrath, Eamon McGee; Karl Lacey (0-1), Leo McLoone, Rory Kavanagh; Neil Gallagher, Mark McHugh; Ryan Bradley, Christy Toye; Colm McFadden (0-1), Michael Murphy (1-3, 0-1f, 0-1 '45'), David Walsh.
Subs used: Anthony Thompson for McGee, Patrick McBrearty for Toye (both 34 mins), Martin O'Reilly (0-1) for Walsh (44), Daniel McLaughlin for Bradley (50).
CORK: Ken O'Halloran; Ray Carey, Eoin O'Mahony, Eoin Cotter; Noel O'Leary, Graham Canty, Paudie Kissane; Aidan Walsh (0-1), Fintan Goold; Paul Kerrigan, Mark Collins (0-1), Paddy Kelly (0-1); Colm O'Neill (0-2, 0-1f), Donncha O'Connor (0-1), Barry O'Driscoll.
Subs used: James Fitzpatrick for Goold, Liam Shorten for O'Driscoll (both 59 mins).
Referee: Padraig O'Sullivan (Kerry)