Donegal seniors got their season off to a winning start with their first intercounty challenge against Fermanagh in Convoy.
Peter Campbell in Convoy
It was as comfortable as the scoreline suggests but it was a weak Fermanagh side, who were having their second outing under new manager Pete McGrath. They lost their opening challenge last week against Leitrim.
There was history made with the first black card shown on a Donegal football field. The unfortunate recipient was Fermanagh centre half-back Eoin Donnelly, probably the best Fermanagh player on view, picked up the card with a minute of normal time left.
For Donegal, with a new backroom team, it was a very good workout. Jim McGuinness was working off a panel that will be available for the Dr. McKenna Cup and it was a fairly experienced team that took the field in almost summer like conditions in Convoy.
It was obvious from early that the new look Donegal full-forward line of Colm McFadden flanked by Darach ‘Jigger’ O’Connor and Leon Thompson were causing plenty of troubles for the Fermanagh rearguard while at the other end of the field, big Seamus Quigley didn’t have the same kind of support, but he still proved a handful.
Colm McFadden, looking very sharp, had the opening point inside ten seconds and by the midway point of the first half, the Donegal lead had stretched to 0-7 to 0-3; McFadden, Odhran MacNiallais, Leon Thompson (2), Marty O’Reilly and Darach O’Connor adding points while Seamus Quigley accounted for the three Fermanagh scores.
Sean Quigley had spurned a goal chance, hitting an upright from close range before Donegal got the opening goal on 20 minutes. Odhran MacNiallais’s effort was blocked but it popped up for Colm McFadden to walk the ball to the net.
Before half-time MacNiallais had added a second goal while Thompson, O’Connor and Rory Kavanagh had further points as wind assisted Donegal led 2-10 to 0-4 at the break.
Fermanagh had their best period in the first ten minutes of the second half with Quigley pointing a free before Paul Durcan denied Chris O’Brien but then allowed a harmless effort from substitute Mickey McAleer through his hands for a gift goal.
Quigley added another free before Donegal hit back with 2-1 in a two minute spell, the goals from Dermot Molloy and Declan Walsh and a McFadden point.
Fermanagh were only able to added four more points, three from Quigley and one from Declan McCosker while Colm McFadden (2), Dermot Molloy, Marty O’Reilly had Donegal points before Darach ‘Jigger’ O’Connor put the final nail in the Fermanagh coffin with a goal with virtually the last kick of the game.
Donegal: Michael Boyle; Karl Lacey, Eamon McGee, Frank McGlynn; Tomas McKinley, Leo McLoone, Declan Walsh (1-0); Rory Kavanagh (0-1), Odhran MacNiallais (1-1); Antoin McFadden, Marty O’Reilly (0-2,1f), Luke Keaney; Darach O’Connor (1-2), Colm McFadden (1-5,1f), Leon Thompson (0-3). Subs., Matthew Smyth, Ciaran Bonner, Stephen McLaughlin, Dermot Molloy (1-1), Paul Durcan, Eamon Doherty (all half-time)
Fermanagh: Chris Snow; Conor Foy, Conor Quigley, Aidan Breen; Declan McCosker (0-1), Eoin Donnelly, Steven McElrone; Jason Love, Richard O’Callaghan; Aidan Boyle, Sean Quigley (0-2), Conal Jones; Chris O’Brien, Seamus Quigley (0-7, 6f,45), Paul McCosker. Sub., Mickey McAleer (1-0).
Referee: Robbie O’Donnell (Naomh Muire)