Donegal players surround Peter Cooke of Galway. Photo Thomas Gallagher
Donegal's poor record in Letterkenny continued as they went down by a single point to Galway.
Donegal . . . . . . . . . 0-14
Galway . . . . . . . . . . 1-12
For the second week in-a-row it was disappointment at a narrow defeat after losing in Kerry the previous week also by the minimum.
However, there will be greater post mortems after this lacklustre display. But for the scoring power of Patrick McBrearty, who is in a rich vein of form, Donegal would have been well beaten. Stephen McBrearty was the only other starting forward to register a score, while Kilcar players accounted for 13 of the 14 points!
The dynamic Damien Comer and the accuracy of Shane Walsh was the difference between the teams. Patrick McBrearty just didn't have enough help up front for Donegal.
Damien Comer was on the scoreboard on 21 seconds. He got a goal early on last week against Tyrone, but this time it was a point.
Paul Conroy added a second before Patrick McBrearty continued where he left off in Kerry with a point from a 35m free. By half-time McBrearty had hit six points, four from frees and two from play and largely kept Donegal in the contest.
Galway took a grip on the game on 15 minutes when Declan Kyne came forward to release Eamonn Brannigan to fire to the Donegal net and Damien Comer burst through from midfield and almost had a second, his shot going just over.
McBrearty kept Donegal in touch with two frees but Galway were four to the good on 29 minutes after two quick points from Shane Walsh, one from play. McBrearty and Walsh traded points before Donegal finished the half well with two points in the final minute from Paul Brennan and Stephen McBrearty, the last point coming after a great pass from Ryan McHugh to Patrick McBrearty, who released his brother.
Half-time: Donegal 0-8, Galway 1-7
There was a lively start to the second half with Stephen McBrearty pointing inside a minute. Then an Eamonn Doherty pass was intercepted and Peter Boyle had to be very alert to divert a Comer fisted effort for goal over the bar at the expense of a point, before Patrick McBrearty cut the lead to one inside three minutes.
By the 42nd minute Donegal were ahead for the only time in the game thanks to two more from McBrearty, one from a free won by Ryan McHugh and the other a magnificent effort from play. They were almost in for a goal from the kick-out but Stephen McBrearty's pass was tantalisingly just a little too strong for his brother, Patrick, in behind the Galway defence.
Shane Walsh levelled with a magnificent effort and he was then wide from close range when going for goal, his effort going just outside the upright when in full flow.
Walsh put Galway back in front from a very soft free against Stephen McMenamin. There was ten minute lull before Ryan McHugh hit a magnificent equaliser. In between Donegal had a couple of good chances with Eamonn Doherty blazing wide from 21m and McBrearty wide from a free, albeit after a long delay for a minor flare up.
Donegal had a chance to go ahead when they had a free moved on but with Patrick McBrearty on his way out to have a go, Ryan McHugh went short and the chance was missed.
Shane Walsh edged Galway back in front from a free with seven minutes left. Ciaran McGinley fisted Donegal level but Sean Armstrong lofted Galway ahead again as Donegal were punished for mistakes.
Paul Conroy and Shane Walsh had great chances to add to the lead as Donegal were just not able to get an equaliser despite having plenty of possession. They lost Ciaran Thompson to a black card as the game entered added time.
Donegal will have to recover quickly as they head to Croke Park to face the Dubs next Saturday.
Scorers: Donegal: Patrick McBrearty 0-9,6f; Stephen McBrearty 0-2; Ryan McHugh, Paul Brennan, Ciaran McGinley 0-1 each
Galway: Shane Walsh 0-6,4f; Damien Comer 0-3; Eamonn Brannigan 1-0; Johnny Heaney, Paul Conroy, Sean Armstrong 0-1 each.
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DONEGAL: Peter Boyle; Stephen McMenamin, Caolan Ward, Eoghan Bán Gallagher; Ryan McHugh, Paul Brennan, Tony McClenaghan; Leo McLoone, Hugh McFadden; Stephen McBrearty, Odhran Mac Niallais, Caolan McGonagle; Patrick McBrearty, Darach O'Connor, Martin O'Reilly. Subs., Eamonn Doherty for McClenaghan 24; Niall O'Donnell for McGonagle; Ciaran Thompson O'Reilly, both ht; Mark McHugh for E Doherty 53; Ciaran McGinley for S McBrearty 61; Kevin McBrearty for Thompson bcard 72
GALWAY: Ruairi Lavelle; Declan Kyne, Sean Andy O'Ceallaigh, Eoghan Kerin; Cathal Sweeney, Gareth Bradshaw, Johnny Heaney; Paul Conroy, Peter Cooke; Sean Kelly, Shane Walsh, Eamonn Brannigan; Patrick Sweeney, Damien Comer, Adrian Varley. Subs., Padraic Cunningham for Varley 50; Thomas Flynn for P Sweeney; Gary O'Donnell for C Sweeney, both 60; Sean Armstrong for Cooke 63; Johnny Duane for O Ceallaigh 64
REFEREE: Padraig Hughes (Armagh)