Caolan Ward is tackled by Liam Connerton. Photo Geraldine Diver
There is little to report apart from Donegal got the win and are in the next round of the Qualifiers after underwhelming Longford in MacCumhaill Park.
It was a day that the forwards of both sides will want to forget, but the Longford side will rue 16 wides, some of them very poor. They also had the only goal chance of the game.
Donegal were no better as they racked up 16 wides also over the course of the game.
The big turning point in the contest came on 48 minutes when Longford lost James McGivney to a second yellow card. The sides were level at 0-5 each at that stage and the visitors were well in the contest.
But when Patrick McBrearty edged Donegal into the lead, they took full advantage. Longford did get back on terms immediately with their first point from play from corner-back Diarmuid Masterson, but that was as good as it got for them, as Donegal pushed on hit six points to Longford's one in the final quarter.
Woeful is the only word that could describe the opening half as the two sides on view bore no relation to what you would expect from intercounty teams.
Two points from play, 19 wides - Donegal had 10 to Longford's nine. And the fare on view for the excellent crowd of 9,915 was very, very poor.
Longford held a one point advantage at the break, 0-4 to 0-3 and were deserving of the advantage. They lost wing-forward Daniel Mimnagh to a black card on 24 minutes.
However, they relied totally on freetakers Robbie Smyth and David McGivney for their scores, McGivney getting three of them. They had a great goal chance on 22 minutes when a high ball in was flicked on by Robbie Smyth, but just wide of the goal.
Donegal were just out of sorts and were again limited by a tight Longford defence. A Michael Murphy free from 49m was their only score of the opening 20 minutes, while Patrick McBrearty had the first point of the game from play on 22 minutes. The only other Donegal point came with the last kick of the half from substitute Martin McElhinney. That came after Longford had missed an easy free at the other end which should have seen Longford take a three point advantage to the dressing room.
The fare improved slightly in the second half, but the loss of James McGivney was followed by a three point blitz from Donegal which pushed them 0-9 to 0-6 clear in the 58th minute and they were never troubled after that.
Indeed, Longford picked up their second black card just four minutes into the new half, Darren Gallagher sent to the sideline after blocking off the ball.
Martin McElhinney’s introduction was a factor in the Donegal revival as he got on a lot of ball and contributed another point in the 45th minute.
The only highlight of the scoring was a point by Jamie Brennan in the 58th minute, the Bundoran man on the end of a great move involving Martin McElhinney, Murphy and Karl Lacey.
Donegal looked a little more comfortable in the final quarter but at that stage Longford’s race was run.
Donegal are in the draw for Round 3 of the Qualifiers but they will need to show a great improvement if they are to feature for much longer in this year's All-Ireland competition.
Again they found it hard to get any intensity into the battle. Paddy McGrath was probably their strongest performer of the starting team while Martin McElhinney’s introduction coincided with any improvement. Neil McGee and Patrick McBrearty also performed well.
DONEGAL: Mark Anthony McGinley; Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Caolan Ward; Eoin McHugh (0-1), Ryan McHugh, Eoghan Bán Gallagher; Jason McGee, Michael Murphy (0-3,3f); Ciaran Thompson, Frank McGlynn, Michael Carroll; Martin O'Reilly, Patrick McBrearty (0-5,4f), Michael Langan. Subs: Martin McElhinney (0-2) for Carroll 28; Hugh McFadden for J McGee 48; Jamie Brennan (0-1) for O'Reilly 52; Mark McHugh for McGlynn 54; Karl Lacey for Langan 57; Paul Brennan for E Ban Gallagher 65
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum; Diarmuid Masterson (0-1), Padraig McCormack, Barry Gilleran; Donal McElligott, Michael Quinn, Dessie Reynolds; John Keegan, David McGivney (0-3,3f); Daniel Mimnagh, James McGivney, Darren Gallagher; Robbie Smyth (0-3,2f), Liam Connerton, Barry McKeon. Subs., Connor Berry for Mimnagh, black card 26; Larry Moran for Gallagher, black card 42; Andrew Farrell for McKeon 66; Ronan McEntire for D McGivney 66; Joe Kelly for Connerton 70
REFEREE: Padraig Hughes (Armagh)
FREES: Donegal 25 (12 in first half). Longford 18 (7)
WIDES: Donegal 16 (6). Longford 16 (9)
45s: Donegal 0. Longford 2
YELLOW CARDS: Donegal Ciaran Thompson 35; Martin McElhinney 47; Patrick McBrearty 56; Eoghan Ban Gallagher 63
Longford: James McGivney 38; Paddy Collum 70+2
BLACK CARDS: Donegal 0. Longford Daniel Mimnagh 24; Darren Gallagher 39; James McGivney 48
RED CARDS: Donegal 0. Longford James McGivney 48.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Not many contenders but by virtue of the impact he had on Donegal when coming on, the award goes to Martin McElhinney, who not only lifted the Donegal game but also scored two points from play.
Padraig Hughes was a fussy referee, who seemed intent on giving lectures when handing out cards. Blew for easy frees which left it a very stop-start affair. Along with the poor marksmanship, he didn’t add much to the occasion for spectators.