Donegal hurlers were no match for Down in the league game at O'Donnell Park on Sunday.
Donegal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0-14
Down . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-22
The hurlers were playing before their biggest home crowd, probably ever, with the stand full some 14 minutes into the first half at 1.29.
However, it was Down who dominated on the field and by half-time they had racked up a 3-10 to 0-6 lead.
Donegal relied on six Lee Henderson frees but they had a very good goal chance on 25 minutes, Sean McVeigh being deprived by Down 'keeper, Stephen Keith.
Donal Hughes hit 1-2 for Down in a four minute period before the 9th minute. Rian Brannigan added a second goal on 21 minutes, and the third arrived a minute later, Conor Woods finding the net.
Donegal were much better in the second half, scoring eight points to Down's 11. They got their first point from play from Paul Sheridan on 53 minutes and Lee Henderson and Sean McVeigh hit other points from play.
Henderson was immaculate from frees for Donegal, hitting one in the second half from fully 80m.
Scorers - Donegal: Lee Henderson 0-11,10f; Paul Sheridan, Sean McVeigh, Paddy Hannigan 0-1 each.
Roscommon: Donal Hughes 1-3; Danny Toner 0-6,3f; Rian Brannigan 1-1; Scott Nicholson 0-4,2f; Chris Egan 1-0; Ruairi Campbell, Conor Woods, Brook Byers 0-2 each; Conor O'Prey, Aaron O'Prey 0-1 each.
Donegal: Paul Burns; Pauric Doherty, Justin McGhee, Shane Gallen; Christopher McDermott, Gavin Brown, Niall Cleary; Paul Sheridan, Jack O'Loughlin; Lee Henderson, Bernard Lafferty, Sean McVeigh; Ciaran Mathewson, Paddy Hannigan, Paul Nelson. Subs., Danny Cullen for Cleary 23; Dara Grant for Brown; Kevin Campbell for Cullen, both ht; Sam Doherty for Nelson 53
Down: Stephen Keith; Conor O'Prey, Conor O'Neill, James McGrath; Ruairi Campbell, Caolan Taggart, Sean Ennis; Scott Nicholson, Conor Woods; Rian Brannigan, Fintan Conway, Aaron O'Prey; Chris Egan, Donal Hughes, Danny Toner. Subs., Paul Sheehan for Taggart ht; Brook Byers for Toner 43; Oisin McManus for Egan 57
Referee: Aiden Ferguson (Fermanagh)
Positives in defeat - McDermott
Donegal manager, Ardal McDermott, was putting a brave face on yesterday defeat to Down and was proclaiming that there were positives in the 17 point defeat.
Without up to seven first choice and losing Danny Cullen to injury early in the second half, the Donegal manager insisted that confidence was low going into the game.
“We got a fair drubbing last week and morale was low but in fairness I feel we did reasonably well against what is a good Down side,” said McDermott.
“We are happy enough with today’s performance, especially what we produced in the second half after the game was all but over at half-time.
“Realistically we are preparing for a relegation play-off and it is matter of getting as many as possible of the players that are out in injured back for that and the championship.
“We were never expected to beat Down and I would have been happy enough coming here today to be within ten points of Down.
“The positive to take out of the game is that we played better as a unit than we have done in any of the other games we have played.”
“Joe Boyle was sick all week and was not fit to start and we brought Danny Cullen in and he broke down again and we had to take him off.”