Roscommon went second in the GAA Allianz National football league Division 1 after a 1-19 to 0-17 point result against Donegal in O’Donnell Park.
It was a game blighted by frees with 17 points coming from placed balls and it could have been more with both intent on fouling opponents as they ventured near goal.
Roscommon were fast out of the blocks with three points in the opening five minutes, with Ian Kilbride and two Ciaran Murtagh scores. Paddy McBrearty’s free for Donegal was a blip on the Rossies radar as they stormed into a comfortable lead.
Niall Daly pointed from play. Cathal Cregg tapped over a free from the edge of the large rectangle before Michael Murphy produced something we haven’t seen many of, as he sent a 45 wide of the mark 12 minutes in.
Roscommon crowded their defence and intercepted a number of long balls into the Donegal forward line in the first half with Sean Purcell and Neil Collins doing well to sniff out Donegal’s attack.
Fintan Cregg and Conor Daly added ponts from play for a 0-7 to 0-1 lead after 18 minutes.
But back came Donegal with McBrearty (free) which was quickly cancelled out by Niall Daly. In a bid to get back into the game Odhran MacNiallais opted to go for goal shortly after but Geoffrey Claffey pulled off a great save.
Murphy finally got off the mark with a free 24 minutes in and Odhran MacNiallais got them back to within four points. But as it did against Kerry, indiscipline cost Donegal, giving away easy frees and Ciaran Murtagh (2) and Fintan Cregg added three frees in quick succession as the game neared half-time. Two frees from Murphy and McBrearty closed the gap but it was a poor first half, dominated by frees. Donegal trailed 0-11 to 0-6.
The Rossies have been ruthless this eason added two points quickly after the restart through Cathal Cregg from play and another Fintan Cregg free. Michael Murphy and Christy Toye closed the gap with two points from play. But the free-flowing game it was not and two more frees, from Ciaran Murtagh and Murphy kept the high foul count going.
Cathal Cregg continued his fine form before McBreaty quickly cancelled it out with another free. The option to foul rather than allow the attacker through was the option most taken.
Two quickfire scores from Eoin McHugh and and another McBrearty free gave Donegal life and it was game on with two between them, 0-15 to 0-13 with 55 minutes played but then came the killer blow from Roscommon as Cathal Cregg finished a move which involved 13 players to the net, for their seventh goal of the campaign, 1-15 to 0-13 just before the hour.
Roscommon were intent on stopping Donegal from playing and it left McBrearty once more with a free to keep Donegal ticking over to pull them back to within four, but they never looked like clinching victory.
Connor Devaney and Ryan McHugh exchanged points from play before Fintan Cregg added two more frees for a six-point margin going into the final few minutes. Neil Gallagher and Enda Smith traded points before Murphy brought the scoring to an end with a free. It was hardly one for the purists but the Rossies won’t mind. A win, is a win, is a win. They move into second.
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