Two away wins in succession have Donegal on the march again and with Monaghan demolishing Meath yesterday, there should be a huge crowd in the north west on March 2.
Manager Jim McGuinness said the meeting will give them a fair test but they showed again in Pearse Stadium yesterday that they are building momentum nicely.
Their powerful running with the ball against the wind, coupled with winning most of the 50-50 collisions, gave them a platform that Galway could not match in the opening half and the Tribesmen were staring at a second successive loss when they trailed by 1-6 to 0-4 at the break. Manager Alan Mulholland praised his men for the way they hit back against the wind in the second half but by then the damage was done.
“We needed to be level or ahead going in at the break. To give a team like Donegal a five-point lead was a bit too much but we asked the lads for an extra effort facing into that wind in the second half and we were very happy with the performance we had,” he said.
“We got it back to three and if we had kicked on we could have made it very interesting at the end but Donegal are a very experienced side and they’ve a strong team at the minute with a lot of work put in before the league and with them targeting this it was a little bit too difficult for us,” he added.
The key score came after 14 minutes, two minutes after Galway full-back Finian Hanley limped off.
Rory Kavanagh, who controlled midfield with Martin McElhinney, found Dermot Molloy in space in front of goal and he dispatched to Colm McFadden in a better position before the St Michael’s man drilled the ball into the bottom left corner.
All of Donegal’s first-half total came from the full-forward line of McFadden, Michael Murphy and Molloy, with Murphy becoming more prominent in the second-half with some excellent points from play and frees.
Eoin Concannon did most to ignite a Galway revival, kicking three fine points, and Paul Conroy landed two more but they never got closer than a goal and Donegal pushed on with Paddy McBrearty hitting three points after being introduced to set up a tasty clash with Monaghan in a few weeks.
“That’s going to be a huge game, especially with them playing well at the moment. It’s going to be a good test for us,” said Donegal manager Jim McGuinness.
“I suppose winning away from home is important for us and to get two wins away from home at the start is great. We’ve racked up some good scores as well and playing on the front foot is a good way to be.
“This one was similar to last week in many ways in that in the first half we were playing against a stiff breeze and our running game had to come into effect. We would have liked to have pushed on more in the second half ideally but Galway came out strong and brought the game to us, but we showed a good bit of character at the end to tack on a good few scores and it was enough to win in the end,” he said.
Scorers for Galway: P Conroy and E Concannon (0-3 each), G Sice (0-2), Sean Armstrong (f), M Martin, P Varley and D Cummins (0-1 each).
Scorers for Donegal: C McFadden (1-4), M Murphy (0-4), P McBrearty (0-3), D Molloy (0-2), O Mac Niallais, R McHugh and D Walsh (0-1 each).
GALWAY: M Breathnach; D O’Neill, F Hanley, J Moore; S Denvir, J Duane, P Varley; P Conroy, T Flynn; G Sice, S Armstrong, G Bradshaw; M Martin, E Concannon, J Kavanagh.
Subs: A Tierney for Hanley (12), G O’Donnell for Denvir (33), D Comer for Sice (63), D O’Connell for Bradshaw (50), D Cummins for Martin (55).
DONEGAL: P Durcan; K Lacey, N McGee, R McHugh; F McGlynn, L McLoone, A Thompson; R Kavanagh, M McElhinney; M McHugh, C Toye, O Mac Niallais; C McFadden, M Murphy, D Molloy.
Subs: D Walsh for Lacey (68), N Gallagher for Kavanagh (35), P McBrearty for Toye (43), A McFadden for Molloy (48).
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford).