Cork 0-12 Donegal 0-10
An excellent finish from Cork saw them win a third consecutive Allianz Football League game as they overcame Donegal at Páirc Uí Rinn tonight.
Having trailed by 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time, Cork fell 0-7 to 0-5 behind after Michael Murphy’s 43rd-minute free for the visitors, but the next seven scores in a row went the way of Conor Counihan’s side.
Despite such a big turnaround in the second half, Donegal gave themselves a chance as Michael Murphy (two) and Colm O’Fadden reduced the gap to two points as the game moved into injury time, but Cork did enough to hold out.
The victory is tempered, however, by the fact that star attacker Colm O’Neill looks set to for another long spell on the sidelines after he was stretchered off with a suspected cruciate ligament injury in the first half.
The score was 0-4 to 0-3 for Donegal when O’Neill suffered the setback in the 16th minute, and the Ballyclough man had accounted for two of the hosts’ points, with Murphy and McFadden Donegal’s primary sources of scores.
After the injury, the temp dropped considerably and Donegal’s Dermot Molloy got the sole score from then until the interval, giving Donegal that cushion, with Neil Gallagher on top in midfield.
They would have expected to push on in the second half as Cork’s attacking play without O’Neill lacked a focal point, and but for two Ken O’Halloran saves from Ross Wherity, the All-Ireland champions would surely have had things far easier for themselves.
Instead, Paul Kerrigan, Liam Shorten and Paudie Kissane were all on target as Cork drew level before they finally took the lead through an Andrew O’Sullivan fisted point in the 57th minute.
With Mark Collins and O’Sullivan full of work and Michael Shields leading a strong defensive effort, Cork were now well on top with the momentum behind them and Aidan Walsh, Kissane and Shorten put them five in front.
Donegal were not finished, however, and Murphy and McFadden had them back to within three before Murphy was fouled by Eoin Cadogan just outside the 13m line.
McFadden put the ball over the bar but though they pressed in search of something which would have yielded points, Cork held out to continue their recent resurgence in the league.
CORK: K O’Halloran; J O’Sullivan, M Shields, E Cadogan; T Clancy, N O’Leary, P Kissane (0-2); G Canty, A Walsh (0-1); A O’Sullivan (0-1), F Goold, M Collins (0-2, 0-1f); B O’Driscoll (0-1), C O’Neill (0-2), P Kerrigan (0-1).
Subs: L Shorten (0-1) for O’Neill (18, injured), D O’Connor for Goold (45), A O’Connor for J O’Sullivan (61), E O’Mahony for Canty (65), D Goulding for A O’Sullivan (70).
DONEGAL: P Durcan; P McGrath, N McGee, E McGee; D Walsh, F McGlynn, L McLoone; R Kavanagh, M Murphy (0-5, 0-4f, 0-1 45); R Bradley, P McBrearty (0-1), R Wherity; D Molloy (0-1), C McFadden (0-3, 0-1 45, 0-2f), N Gallagher.
Subs: M McElhinney for Molloy, R McHugh for Wherity (both 53),
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).