Donegal lose McKenna Cup opener

Fermanagh 2-15 Donegal 2-7

Fermanagh 2-15 Donegal 2-7

A vastly under-strength Donegal team fell to Fermanagh in tonight’s Power NI Dr McKenna Cup clash at a foggy Brewster Park.

The All-Ireland champions fielded none of the team that lifted the Sam Maguire Cup last September. The much-changed starting line-up was expected as Donegal only arrived back yesterday from a well-earned team holiday in Dubai.

They leaked a fifth minute goal from full-forward Daryl Keenan as Peter Canavan’s industrious home side built a 1-6 to 0-4 interval lead in Enniskillen.

Keenan did well to round goalkeeper Michael Boyle and slot home before the recalled Shane McGowan replied with a point for the Tir Chonaill men.

Gary McFadden and free-taker Stephen Griffin both pointed as Fermanagh’s advantage was reduced to 1-1 to 0-3. Paul Ward landed a settling score for the Ernesiders, but then had a goal effort saved by Boyle.

They enjoyed a purple patch coming up to half-time with successive points from Ward, John Woods, Marty O’Brien, Shane Lyons.

Dermot ‘Brick’ Molloy was among the changes at the break and he almost made an immediate impact for Donegal, forcing Ronan Gallagher’s goalkeeping deputy, Chris Snow, into a good early save.

Fermanagh continued to find space in the visitors’ defence though and points from substitute Sean Quigley (0-2) and Ward, allied to Tomas Corrigan’s goal, widened the gap to 2-9 to 0-4.

Corrigan, a half-time substitute, effectively put the game beyond Donegal’s reach when he found the back of the net. Fermanagh were in full control as Keenan, Ward and James Sherry all clipped over points.

McFadden restarted the scoring for Donegal by landing their first point since the 23rd minute, and Jim McGuinness’ side gained some consolation with two late goals.

Adrian Hanlon, who started at full-forward, flicked a long ball into the net to make it 2-13 to 1-6, and Molloy registered the second soon after.

Molloy added a free to reduce the arrears to six points with four minutes remaining, but Fermanagh answered back with clinching scores from substitutes Marty McGrath and Quigley.

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