Donegal U-21s failed by just a point in their challenge game against an experienced Sligo side in Sean MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey, on Friday night.
Sligo fielded some five of their senior team while Donegal gave all their panellists a run out in a game played over four periods of 20 minutes.
Donegal were without Patrick McBrearty, who was with the Vocational team preparing for the All-Ireland semi-final, but their senior panel members Dermot Molloy, Thomas McKinley and Martin O’Reilly all played very well.
There will probably be some questions asked about the defence as they were opened up for the three goals, two of them in the opening quarter as Sligo took a 2-2 to 0-5 lead to the first break. One of the Sligo goals came from the penalty spot with goalkeeper Ashley Mulhern having little chance with either.
There was just one point scored in the second quarter with Donegal raising a white flag to leave Sligo ahead by 2-2 to 0-6 at the break.
By the end of the third quarter on a bitterly cold night, the sides were all square at 2-4 to 0-10, while in the final quarter Sligo just edged home with a late goal.
It was an entertaining challenge with just one of Donegal’s points coming from a free.
Scorers for Donegal were: Dermot Molloy 0-5, Conor Gibbons 0-3, Shay Coyle 0-2, Cory Gallagher, Raymond McLaughlin and Thomas McKinley 0-1 each.
The Donegal starting line up was: Ashley Mulhern; Pauric Carr, Colm McGinley, Kevin McFadden; Cory Gallagher, Peter Devine, Thomas McKinley; Peter McGonigle, Luke Keaney; Martin O’Reilly, Sean McGarvey, Michael McEniff; Dermot Molloy, Seamie Friel, Fiachra McGinley. Subs used, Christopher McGlynn, Peter Boyle, Stephen Doak, Cathal Ellis, Gary Clancy, Conor Gibbons, Oisin McGinley, Raymond McLaughlin, Harry Harden, Michael Cannon, Darren McGeever.