Galway beat Donegal by single point In National Football League battle

Donegal 2-07 Galway 2-08

By Keith Faherty

Donegal’s awful string of performances continued in Letterkenny on Sunday. Despite regaining a seven-point lead in the second half, they ended up losing out to Galway by the bare minimum in a one-point defeat.


It’s the sixth year in succession that Donegal have failed to win at this venue, but they can’t give the excuse that the weather conditions played into it. At the end of the game, they had two frees at the end of the match missed by Michael Murphy and Ciaran Thompson.


It became a fairly tight contest right throughout the end as Galway refused to lie down going seven points early in the second half after goals coming from Moycullen’s Sean Kelly and Killannin’s Johnny Heaney, while on the day Shane Walsh showed how he is a real leader continuing his scoring spree.

Galway move to 3rd in the table with this victory


With windy conditions at O’Donnell Park, Donegal won the toss. They played against the wind in the opening half and dominated possession. Both goalkeepers struggled with their kick-outs as both sides went more attacking.


Donegal thought they should have had a penalty in the opening two minutes as a Ryan McHugh effort came off the post, while Eoin McHugh held inside the square.


Galway got the opening score from the game thanks to Damien Comer winning a free, which Shane Walsh converted.


It took Donegal over 12 minutes to get their first score, as Ryan McHugh took a free and picked out Peadar Mogan, as he went for goal, but Conor Gleeson denied him and went over for a point.


Robert Finnerty went down the pitch and put Galway back in front after a ‘45’ taken by Walsh dropped short in the box which Finnerty caught.


Michael Murphy saw his shot at goal cleared off the line, like Murphy, before Murphy himself got Jamie Brennan which led to a penalty, like Brennan, tripped by Gleeson and received a black card and replaced by Ronan Ó Beoláin.


Murphy converted the penalty with his power as he sent Ó Beoláin the wrong way. As when Gleeson sin bin was finished, the Galway decided to make the substitution of Ó Beoláin permanent, which he saw out the whole game, while Finnian Ó Laoí returned to the pitch after 10 minutes.


Galway’s Damien Comer should get a goal after 25 minutes with a lovely long pass from Shane Walsh, but Comer had to settle for a point, as his shot was far too high and decided for a score.


Donegal replied in superior fashion as with an excellent point, while Finnerty showed his potential. But into added time the Donegal substitute Niall O Donnell won a free which Murphy converted.


That was the last action of the half as referee Joe Mcquvilan blew the whistle, Donegal leading 1-03 to 0-04.


Donegal started the second half with a decent score with Murphy converting a ‘45’, which looked to be going wide, did brilliantly to curl it in and send it over.


Donegal with a good ball on 42 minutes as McHugh picked out Thomson as the man from Naomh Conaill brought the ball forward and buried the shot into the net.


Galway responded thanks to a goal from Heaney after good play from Walsh set him up.


Shane Walsh with good skill fired over a point to reduce the deficit to three points, as Paul Brennan was black carded while bringing down Comer, with Walsh scoring the free.


Things automatically changed as Kelly ran through and got around three defenders, barging through to score a second goal for the tribesmen, as it was an excellent individual play from the Moycullen native.


Michael Daly had got Galway into the lead again. Walsh converted another free to give Galway the edge and Dáire Ó Baoil won a free which Thompson converted and left a point between them, six minutes left.


Daly saw red card and Galway were down to 14 players after an incident with Donegal’s Caolan Ward.


Then, Murphy, had a score disallowed after he appeared to be in the square before the ball, Donegal tried to level the match, with Thompson and Murphy missing frees at the most crucial of times, as Galway held on for a one-point win Michael Murphy fisted a point but ended up disallowed for a square ball. Donegal tried to work an equaliser only for Thompson and Murphy to miss their frees.


It finished Galway 2-09 Donegal 2-08.


Donegal: Shaun Patton; Caolan Ward, Neil McGee, Eoghan Bán Gallagher; Ryan McHugh, Conor O’Donnell, Odhrán McFadden Ferry; Caolan McGonagle, Michael Langan; Eoin McHugh, Peadar Mogan (0-01), Paul Brennan; Ciaran Thompson (1-01, 0-01f), Michael Murphy (1-03, 1-00 pen; 0-01 ’45’; 0-01f, 0-01m), Jamie Brennan (0-02, 0-01m).
Subs: Niall O’Donnell for Mogan 37, Andrew McClean for McGonagle ht; Dáire Ó Baoill for E McHugh 55.


Galway: Connor Gleeson; Sean Kelly (1-00), Sean Mulkerrin, Johnny Heaney (1-00); Gary O’Donnell, John Daly, Cillian McDaid; Ronan Steede, Cein D’Arcy; Finnian O Laoi, Damien Comer (0-01), Michael Daly (0-01); Robert Finnerty (0-02), Shane Walsh (0-04, 0-02f), Michael Boyle.
Subs: Ronan O Beolain for Gleeson 17; Conor Campbell for McDaid 37; Adrian Varley for Steede ht; Paul Conroy for O Laoi 43.


Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)

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