Galway eked out a narrow win in the Allianz League Division 1 in Letterkenny to see off a Donegal side who they had led by seven points at one stage in the second half.
Declan Bonner’s team looked to be in firm control eight minutes into part two when Ciaran Thompson slammed a goal past Ronan Ó Beoláin in the Galway goal for a 2-5 to 0-4 Donegal lead.
However, Galway’s instant response went a long way to turning the contest when Johnny Heaney got in on the end of a pass from Shane Walsh to smash past Shaun Patton in the Donegal goal they were back in business.
Then, on 53 minutes, Padraig Joyce’s other corner-back Séan Kelly slipped a tackle and saw the whole Donegal defence open as he strode in to plant the ball in the bottom corner of Patton’s net.
A Michael Murphy free brought Donegal level at 2-6 to 2-6, only for Walsh’s fourth of the day and a Michael Daly score to put Galway two up late in the day. Daly was sent off by Joe McQuillan with three minutes to play for picking up a second yellow card and Donegal will rue their missed chances late on.
Murphy saw what he thought was an equalizing point chalked off for a square ball and both Thompson and the Donegal captain missed injury-time frees for a share of the spoils as Galway held on to post the narrowest of wins.
Donegal had led at half-time 1-3 to 0-4 with Murphy scoring a penalty on 22 minutes after Jamie Brennan was toppled and Connor Gleeson, the Galway goalkeeper, was black-carded.
Scorers - Donegal: M Murphy 1-3, (1-0 pen, 1f, 1 ’45, 1m), C Thompson 1-1 (1f), J Brennan 0-2 (0-1 am), P Mogan 0-1.
Galway: S Walsh 0-4 (2f), S Kelly, J Heaney 1-0 each, R Finnerty 0-2, Michael Daly, Damien Comer 0-1 each.
Donegal: S Patton; C Ward, N McGee, E Ban Gallagher; R McHugh, C O’Donnell, O McFadden-Ferry; C McGonagle, M Langan; E McHugh, P Mogan, P Brennan; C Thompson, M Murphy, J Brennan.
Subs: N O’Donnell for Mogan (35), A McClean for McGonagle (half-time), D Ó Baoill for E McHugh (55).
Galway: C Gleeson; S Kelly, S Mulkerrin, J Heaney; G O’Donnell, J Daly, C McDaid; Ronan Steede, C D’Arcy; F Ó Laoí, D Comer, M Daly; R Finnerty, S Walsh, M Boyle.
Subs: Subs: R Ó Beoláin for 22 (22), O Laoi for Gleeson (32), C Campbell for McDaid (35+3), R Varley for Steed (half-time), P Conroy for O Laoi (44)
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).