By John Fogarty
DONEGAL 2-5 DUBLIN 1-8
A disputable additional time free ensured Donegal extended their unbeaten record in Ballybofey to 16 games.
Dublin’s unbeaten run across league and championship lengthened to 32 matches but they will be disappointed with the decision by referee Ciarán Branagan to call a foul on Eamonn Doherty, which Michael Murphy penalised with a free in the second minute of injury-time. For the second successive Division 1 game, they had to make do with a point.
Niall Scully’s 57th minute goal after a slew of hand-passes put Dublin ahead for the first time since the end of the first half. Substitute Davy Byrne followed it up with a point to stretch their lead to two but frees by Ciaran Thompson and Murphy meant the spoils were shared on a difficult day.
The ball had hardly been in the Dublin half of the field before Donegal struck them for two goals in the closing stages of the half. Jason McGee started and finished the first move, following up on his initial tame effort to square the ball and was on hand to finish to the net after a miscue.
From the resultant kick-out, Donegal pounced again and Ryan McHugh finished superbly to all of a sudden push the home side into a most unlikely lead going into the break, 2-2 to 0-5.
A total of 26 minutes had passed between Donegal’s first and second points, McGee’s opener after 31 seconds and a Thompson free. By that stage, Dublin had posted five points, from Shane Carthy through to Scully’s effort, which put them 0-5 to 0-1 up in the 25th minute.
Dublin dominated possession but had to be patient as Donegal set up banks of men behind the ball hoping to catch them on the break.
Scorers for Donegal: J. McGee (1-1); R. McHugh (1-0); C. Thompson, M. Murphy (0-2 frees each).
Scorers for Dublin: N. Scully (1-1); D. Rock (0-3, frees); S. Carthy, C. Kilkenny, C. McHugh, D. Byrne (0-1 each).
DONEGAL: M.A. McGinley; P. McGrath, N. McGee, C. Ward; E. Bán Gallagher, P. Brennan, R. McHugh; J. McGee, C. Thompson; M. Carroll, M. Murphy (c), M. O’Reilly; F. McGlynn, E. McHugh, J. Brennan.
Subs for Donegal: H. McFadden for J. Brennan (40); D. O’Connor for P. Brennan (45); E. Doherty for M. Carroll (58); S. McBrearty for E. McHugh (63).
DUBLIN: S. Cluxton (c); P. McMahon, M. Fitzsimons, D. Daly; E. Lowndes, J. McCaffrey, J. Small; B. Fenton, C. Reddin; S. Carthy, C. Kilkenny, N. Scully; D. Rock, E. O’Gara, C. McHugh.
Subs for Dublin: P. Flynn for S. Carthy, M.D. Macauley for C. Reddin (both 42); K. McManamon for E. O’Gara (44); D. Byrne for J. McCaffrey (inj 57); J. Whelan for C. McHugh (62); E Ó Conghaile for D. Daly (69).
Referee: C. Branagan (Down).