Donegal hurlers made a little bit of history in the Nicky Rackard Cup in O’Donnell Park, when they overcame a fancied Roscommon side with a very good display.
Report: Tom Comack
Photos: Conor McGonagle
After a poor league campaign, this was a different Donegal team who played with confidence and were full value for their win.
They are now through to the semi-final of the Nicky Rackard Cup while Roscommon must go through the qualifiers.
In what was famous victory, Donegal were much the better side in the opening half with Roscommon coming into the game at the end of both halves. Enda McDermott, Eugene Organ and Danny Cullen were a constant threat up front for Donegal; Sean McVeigh and Paul Sheridan were on top at midfield while Joe Boyle and Jamsie Donnelly were exceptional in defence.
Donegal started off very well with Enda McDermott putting them two ahead after just five minutes. Danny Cullen then added another from long range after combining well with Niall Campbell.
Michael Kelly got Roscommon’s first from long range after eight minutes and David Dolan added two quick frees, from 35 and 40m, to tie up the game
Niall Campbell responded for Donegal with two frees, from 40 and 13m respectively to push Donegal clear again on 15 minutes, but Dolan tied up the game again with two more frees on 20 and 24 minutes.
Roscommon hit the front for the first time in the game when David Nolan pointed on 25 minutes.
Then came the Donegal goal; a high speculative effort from Eugene Organ was dropped by the Roscommon ‘keeper and Ronan McDermott was onto the rebound in a flash to fire to the net.
Dolan, with another free, cut the deficit but two minutes into added time, Niall Campbell from a ‘65’ pointed to send Donegal to the dressing room two points to the good - 1-6 to 0-7.
After the break, Lee Henderson added a point immediately but Dolan pulled one back from a free.
Then Donegal hit three without replay from Danny Cullen, Enda McDermott and Niall Campbell (free) to make it 1-10 to 0-8 after 47 minutes
Roscommon lost half-forward Kevin Conneely to a second yellow card while Niall Campbell and Dolan exchanged points before Campbell put Donegal 1-11 to 0-9 in front at the end of the third quarter
That lead remained at five points with Padraig Kelly and Lee Henderson trading points before Roscommon were reduced to 13 when centre half-back Shane McDermott saw yellow for a second time.
It looked as if Donegal would cruise home with ten minutes left, but Dolan, Jamie Lawlor and Dolan again hit back to reduce the margin to two with seven minutes left.
Enda McDermott, who had a fine game in the half -forward line, made it a three points game once more before Niall Campbell and Dolan again exchanged points before Campbell added the insurance point in added time.
Scorers - Donegal: Niall Campbell 0-7,2’65’, 4f; Enda McDermott 0-4; Ronan McDermott 1-0; Danny Cullen, Lee Henderson 0-2 each.
Roscommon: David Dolan 0-10,9f; Michael Kelly, Declan Nolan, Padraig Kelly, Jamie Lawlor 0-1 each
Donegal: Paul Burns; Padraig Doherty, Joe Boyle, Ardal McDermott; Benny Harrigan, Justin McGee, Jamsie Donnelly; Sean McVeigh, Paul Sheridan; Enda McDermott, Eugene Organ, Lee Henderson; Ronan McDermott, Danny Cullen, Niall Campbell. Subs., Christopher McDermott for P Doherty 59; Kevin Campbell for Henderson 60.
Roscommon: David Dowd; Brian Donnelly, Shane Curley, Darren Fallon; Sean Melia, Shane McDermott, Padraig Kelly; Gerry Fallon, Michael Kelly; Brendan Kelly, Declan Nolan, Kevin Conneely; David Dolan, John Coyne, Tomas Seale. Subs., Killian Egan for J Coyne 21 (inj); Jamie Lawlor for Seale 42; Eamon Kenny for Kelly 46; David Flaherty for G Fallon 48.
Referee: Eamon Hassan (Derry)
Man of the match
Playing at full-forward, Danny Cullen scored two great long range points and was a real threat throughout with a very unselfish performance. He also came outfield in the second half with effect. He just pipped Niall Campbell for the award.
The Donegal goal just before half-time was the big turning point. Donegal were a point down when a high ball from Eugene Organ was dropped and Ronan McDermott nipped in to find the net for the only goal of the game.
Eamon Hassan dished out plenty of yellow cards and he also flashed red twice and neither of the Roscommon players can have any complaint. Overall, he had a good game.