A very decent crowd of around 6,000 witnessed Donegal’s first home game in the Allianz National Footall League when a good second half display accounted for Down.
The game saw the debut of 18-year-old Ryan McHugh for the county with his brother Mark part of the starting half-back line.
Donegal had the goal chances in the first half but they were denied on a couple of occasions, most notably when Michael Murphy put Ross Wherity through and on anoher occasion when Eamon McGee started a move which finished with his brother, Neil being denied by Michael Cunningham in the Down goal.
The first four points were shared with Michael Murphy and Ross Wherity pointing for Donegal while Donal O’Hare hit two frees for Down.
The Mourne men then went three clear with further points frees fromO’Hare and Kevin McKernan while O’Hare had Down’s only point from play to put Down 0-5 to 0-2 clear.
But late in the half frees from Colm McFadden and Michael Murphy left just a point between them at the break, Down 0-5, Donegal 0-4.
Donegal had a great start to the second half with four unanswered points inside 13 minutes with Michael Murphy again impressing and Ryan McHugh coming really into the game.
Murphy fisted Donegal’s tenth point and Declan Walsh put six between the sides with 13 minutes left as Down found it difficult to make any impression.
Thirty minutes had elapsed in the half before Donal O’Hare had Down’s first point of the half.
Scorers - Donegal: Michael Murphy 0-6, 4f; Declan Walsh, Leo McLoone, Rory Kavanagh, Colm McFadden (f), Ross Wherity and Daniel McLaughlin 0-1 each.
Down: Donal O’Hare 0-5,4f; Kevin McKernan 0-1, 1f
Donegal: Paul Durcan; Declan Walsh, Neil McGee, Eamon McGee; Ryan McHugh, Leo McLoone, Anthony Thompson; Rory Kavanagh, Martin McElhinney; Mark McHugh, Michael Murphy, Ryan Bradley; Colm McFadden, Ross Wherity, Patrick McBrearty. Subs., Neil Gallagher for McElhinney ht; Demot Molloy for McBrearty 55; Daniel McLaughlin for McFadden 63; Odhran Mac Niallais for N McGee 70
Down: Michael Cunningham; Damian Turley, Daniel McCartan, Ryan Boyle; Ryan Mallon, Aidan Carr, Brendan McArdle; Kalum King, Kevin McKernan; Keith Quinn, Mark Poland, Paul McComiskey; Conor Laverty, Connaire Harrison, Donal O’Hare. Subs., Peter Turley for B McArdle ht; Benny Coulter for Harrison 47; Declan Rooney for Mallon 48; Danny Savage for D Turley 56; Conor Gough for King 58
Referee: Marty Duffy (Sligo).