Donegal overwhelm brittle Meath with three-goal blast

Ulster champions Donegal flexed their muscle with a 10-point win in Navan, their first of the Allianz Football League Division 1 campaign.

Donegal overwhelm brittle Meath with three-goal blast

Donegal 3-8 - Meath0-7

Ulster champions Donegal flexed their muscle with a 10-point win in Navan, their first of the Allianz Football League Division 1 campaign.

Declan Bonner's men took a while to get going and trailed by three points after 24 minutes but goals from Odhran McFadden Ferry, captain Michael Murphy, and Michael Langan wrapped up the win well before full-time.

It was Meath's first home game in the top flight in 14 years but they were overwhelmed by the back-to-back Ulster champions who have now beaten them four times in a year.

Murphy, Langan, Jamie Brennan, and Ryan McHugh were all excellent for Donegal who were suckered by an equalising goal against Mayo in Round 1.

They will return to action next Sunday in Letterkenny when they play Galway while Meath will host Mayo.

That's a game Meath will feel they simply have to win to get their survival bid up and running.

Energised by the large and vocal home support, Meath hinted initially that they might be about to pull off a memorable win as they surged 0-4 to 0-1 ahead.

Thomas O'Reilly hit Meath's first point of the Division 1 campaign on home soil and David Toner, Cillian O'Sullivan, and Bryan McMahon followed his head.

To add to Meath's momentum, goalkeeper Marcus Brennan got down smartly to his right in the 16th minute to save a penalty from Michael Murphy.

Brennan, 35, was a late addition to the Meath lineup and became the third 'keeper to feature for the Royals in just two games following game time for both Dominic Yorke and Barry Dardis in the Round 1 loss to Tyrone.

But things soon turned sour for Meath who didn't score again until the 40th minute, a 20-minute period in which Donegal took full control of the game.

McFadden Ferry slammed home their opening goal in the 28th minute after a lengthy passing move and Murphy, at his second attempt, converted a penalty in the 33rd minute after a foul on Jamie Brennan.

Brennan was also fouled for the earlier penalty and this time Conor McGill was black carded and sin-binned for his foul.

Donegal led 2-2 to 0-4 at half-time and Langan scored their third goal four minutes after the restart.

It was another terrific move that ended with McHugh jinking past Bryan McMahon and playing the ball across goal for Langan to palm home to break the hosts' brittle challenge.

Brennan and Hugh McFadden added points and Donegal were in a position to coast home.

Brennan and Langan added points to keep them well in command and the 2012 All-Ireland winners closed it out with scores from sub Niall O'Donnell and Murphy to secure a fully deserved win.

Donegal scorers: M Murphy (1-2, 1-0 pen, 2 frees); M Langan (1-1); O McFadden Ferry (1-0); J Brennn (0-2); C Thompson (1 free), H McFadden, N O'Donnell (0-1 each).

Meath scorers: T O'Reilly (0-3); C O'Sullivan (0-2, 2 frees), B McMahon (1 free), D Toner (0-1 each).

Donegal: S Patton; EB Gallagher, N McGee, O McFadden Ferry; C Ward, C O'Donnell, E McHugh; H McFadden, M Langan; P Brennan, R McHugh, C Thompson; P Mogan, M Murphy, J Brennan.

Subs: A McClean for E McHugh (50); N O'Donnell for Mogan (55); B McCole for McFadden Ferry (55); J McKelvey for McFadden (67); C Diver for P Brennan (71).

Meath: M Brennan; R Clarke, C McGill, D Toner; J McEntee, B Conlon, D Keogan; B Menton, R Jones; M Costello, B McMahon, E Wallace; C O'Sullivan, T O'Reilly, J Wallace.

Subs: B Brennan for Costello (h/t); E Devine for E Wallace (48); R Ryan for B Conlon (55); S Tobin for J Wallace (62); J Conlon for McMahon (62).

Ref: C Lane (Cork).

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