McFadden and Murphy on target for Donegal

McFadden and Murphy on target for Donegal

Donegal 0-17 Mayo 1-7

Top scorers Colm McFadden and Michael Murphy led the way for Donegal as they overcame a faltering Mayo side in Ballyshannon.

Enda Varley’s 10th-minute goal had given Mayo an ideal start in their push for a first win in three league games.

They were 1-5 to 0-6 ahead at the break, but Donegal, despite having Rory Kavanagh sent-off, dominated after that.

McFadden (0-7), Murphy (0-5) and Patrick McBrearty (0-2) did most of the scoring damage as the Ulstermen coasted home.

Mayo also finished the game with 14 players due to defender Ger Cafferkey's dismissal for persistent fouling of Murphy.

James Horan's side did begin brightly and established a 1-3 to 0-1 advantage which was built around Varley's cool finish into the left corner of the net, from Conor Mortimer's set-up.

McBrearty and Kevin McLoughlin had swapped opening points in the spring sunshine, and the Connacht champions were looking strong when Alan Dillon and Mortimer (free) added further points to put five between the teams.

Incredibly, the visitors were outscored by 0-16 to 0-4 over the remaining 55 minutes of the match.

Donegal, with Eamon McGee starting at full-back in place of his brother Neil ('flu), gradually got to grips with Mayo's style of play and began to force the issue in the second half.

Before that, a succession of scores from the forward tandem of Murphy and McFadden effectively wiped out Mayo's initial lead despite the best efforts of Mortimer who converted three frees in all.

Jim McGuinness' men suffered a setback just before the half-time whistle when midfielder Kavanagh received a straight red card for swinging out and connecting with Mayo wing forward McLoughlin.

Mayo were not able to use the extra man to their advantage nonetheless, and they allowed their collective effort to dip alarmingly after the break as Donegal seized control by using their hard-hitting defence to launch attack after attack.

The sending-off seemed to bind Donegal together and they showed much better spirit and appetite for work, cantering 0-10 to 1-5 ahead on the back of points from Karl Lacey, McFadden, McBrearty, who finished off an excellent solo effort, and McFadden again.

It was one-way traffic as Leo McLoone got on the scoresheet and further scores from Murphy and McFadden sandwiched the 52nd minute dismissal of Mayo full-back Cafferkey.

With that, the contest was well and truly over.

A Mark McHugh point was responded to by Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke who was arguably their best player on the pitch.

He showed good positional sense of pulled off some very good saves in keeping a clean sheet.

Clarke's '45' was Mayo's first point of the second half, and they had to wait until injury-time for their second from substitute Michael Conroy.

Donegal are now sixth in the Division 1 table, level on four points with fifth-placed Mayo who still have to play their rescheduled game against Dublin. Before that, Donegal will get a crack at the Dubs next Saturday, while Mayo host Cork the following afternoon.

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