Shadow boxing in the evening sunshine 

Paddy Small picked his way past Donegal goalkeeper Shaun Patton to finish to the net was the standout moment of a strange game
Shadow boxing in the evening sunshine 

Paddy Small shoots past Donegal goalkeeper Shaun Patton at Kingspan Breffni Park. 

Allianz Football League Division 1 semi-final

Dublin 1-18 

Donegal 1-14 

IN the parallel universe that is National Football League 2021, Dublin ‘progressed’ to a league final that never was, and never will be, against old foes Kerry.

In ranking just how pointless this game was, we place it somewhere alongside other Donegal league semi-finals. Few teams guard their process as jealously as these two and with a raft of regular faces missing, this was akin to covering a pitch opening. It wouldn’t have surprised if Brian Fenton had found himself licking an ice cream cone as play continued around him. It had that village fete feel to it.

The most passion came from Donegal selector Stephen Rochford roaring from high in the Breffni Main Stand, but even his efforts flagged as both teams limped through this game hoping to keep everything intact.

The major play of the game was the Dublin goal on the half hour. They turned over Michael Langan downfield and make a fast break with Brian Fenton providing the last pass before Paddy Small picked his way past Donegal goalkeeper Shaun Patton to finish to the net.

A late goal came from substitute Eoghan McGettigan to tidy up the margin for Donegal, no sense in any heroics just yet with Down in the Ulster Championship at Newry but a fortnight away.

Scorers for Dublin: C Costello (0-6, 5 frees, 1 x ‘45’), P Small (1-3, 1 x mark), C O’Callaghan (0-3), C Kilkenny (0-2), S McMahon, B Fenton, B Howard, A Byrne (0-1 each) 

Scorers for Donegal: P McBrearty (0-6, 2 frees, 1 x mark), E McGettigan (1-1), C McGonagle and M Langan (0-2 each), B McCole, N O’Donnell, O’MacNiallais (0-1 each) 

DUBLIN: E Comerford; M Fitzsimons, D Byrne, S McMahon; J McCarthy, B Howard, E Murchan; B Fenton, P O’Cofaigh-Byrne; P Small, C Kilkenny, N Scully; C Basquel, C O’Callaghan, C Costello 

Subs: E Lowndes for Murchan (HT), S Bugler for Basquel (50 mins), T Lahiff for O’Cofaigh Byrne, A Byrne for Scully (both 55 mins), P McMahon for Fitzsimons, C McHugh for Kilkenny (both 60 mins), S Carthy for Small (67 mins) 

DONEGAL: S Patton; E McHugh, S McMenamin, B McCole; E O’Donnell, R McHugh, O McFadden-Ferry; H McFadden, C McGonagle; C Thompson, O MacNiallais, N O’Donnell; P McBrearty, M Langan, O Gallen 

Subs: C O’Donnell for MacNiallais (29 mins), C Ward for McMenamin (HT), E McGettigan for Gallen (55 mins), D O’Baoill for N O’Donnell, J McGee for H McFadden (both 57 mins), T McClenaghan for E McHugh (59 mins) 

 Referee: Ciaran Branagan (Down)

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