Donegal overcame defending National Football League (Division One) Champions Cork at Ballybofey on Sunday with a deserved four point win. Michael Murphy couldn’t have wished for a better debut as he grabbed a goal in the opening minute.
It proved to be a memorable day for the youngster as he finished with a total of 1-3 as the Rebels couldn’t claw back that early goal. Donegal’s famous (or should that be; infamous) defence was to the fore once again as the Leesiders struggled to find their way through in what was an utterly forgettable afternoon for the visitors who never threatened to raise the green flag they needed.
It took the visitors some time to recover from the concession of the early goal and although they enjoyed large periods of possession; by the 25th minute they had only registered two points (from Donncha O’Connor and Aidan Walsh). Three minutes later Paddy McGrath got Donegal’s first over of the afternoon but Mark Collins was quick to reply for the visitors to leave it 1-1 to 0-3 five minutes from the half-time break. A point from Murphy was then matched by another from the visitors’ Colm O’Neill with the score 1-2 to 0-4 ahead at the short whistle.
Cork nicked two quick points within two minutes of the re-start through O’Neill and Kelly but amazingly, the 2010 All-Ireland champions did not score again in the remaining half-hour.
Murphy added two more points with scores from McFadden, Karl Lacey and substitute Martin O’Reilly seeing the home side canter to what was in the end a comfortable four point victory with goalscorer Murphy the stand-out performer.
DONEGAL: Paul Durkan; Frank McGlynn (0-1), Paddy McGrath, Eamon McGee; Karl Lacey (0-1), Leo McLoone, Rory Kavanagh; Neil Gallagher, Mark McHugh; Ryan Bradley, Christy Toye; Colm McFadden (0-1), Michael Murphy (1-3, 0-1f, 0-1 ’45′), David Walsh.
Subs used: Anthony Thompson for McGee, Patrick McBrearty for Toye (both 34 mins), Martin O’Reilly (0-1) for Walsh (44), Daniel McLaughlin for Bradley (50).
CORK: Ken O’Halloran; Ray Carey, Eoin O’Mahony, Eoin Cotter; Noel O’Leary, Graham Canty, Paudie Kissane; Aidan Walsh (0-1), Fintan Goold; Paul Kerrigan, Mark Collins (0-1), Paddy Kelly (0-1); Colm O’Neill (0-2, 0-1f), Donncha O’Connor (0-1), Barry O’Driscoll.
Subs used: James Fitzpatrick for Goold, Liam Shorten for O’Driscoll (both 59 mins).
Referee: Padraig O’Sullivan (Kerry)