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Allianz FL D1: Roscommon ease past Donegal

Conor Cox of Roscommon scores a point despite the efforts of Brendan McCole of Donegal during the Allianz Football League Division 1 match between Roscommon and Donegal at Dr Hyde Park in Roscommon. 

Conor Cox of Roscommon scores a point despite the efforts of Brendan McCole of Donegal during the Allianz Football League Division 1 match between Roscommon and Donegal at Dr Hyde Park in Roscommon. 

Allianz Football League Division 1

Roscommon 0-21 Donegal 0-9

By Ian Cooney at Dr. Hyde Park

Roscommon enjoyed a rare comfortable afternoon in Division 1 as they put Donegal to the sword in front of over 4,000 spectators at Dr. Hyde Park.

Eleven different scorers contributed 0-20 from play as the Rossies warmed up for their Connacht quarter-final clash with league finalists Mayo on Easter Sunday with a commanding display.

For Donegal, it was another chastening experience following a difficult week which saw Paddy Carr resign as manager.

For the opening 15 minutes, they reacted to give as good as they got and were on level terms, 0-4 apiece, after 11 minutes.

But then the floodgates eventually opened as the home side, led by Brian Stack, Diarmuid and Ciaráin Murtagh, Enda Smith and the dynamic Ben O’Carroll, started to kick scores for fun.

By the midway mark, Roscommon were 0-12 to 0-7 ahead and they went on to control the second half to maintain their top-flight status for the first time since 2016, although Galway’s victory against Kerry meant that they missed out on a place in next weekend’s league final.

An open, free-flowing affair was reflected in a glut of early scores. Diarmuid Murtagh got the ball rolling with a converted free from 45 metres but Donegal were making inroads too as Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Caolan McGonagle, Conor Donnell and Jamie Brennan found the target.

But Roscommon never let their opponents build up a head of steam as points from play by Tadhg O’Rourke, the excellent Ben O’Carroll and full back Brian Stack left the sides deadlocked at 0-4 apiece after only 11 minutes.

But the Rossies were only warming up as they took command, making some vital turnovers to suck the life and enthusiasm out of Donegal.

O’Carroll and Smith kicked points, but there was some brief Donegal resistance when Ciaran Thompson bisected the posts from the left flank.

The home side quickly disappeared over the horizon with Smith, Diarmuid Murtagh (2) and O’Carroll finally putting some daylight between the teams.

Hugh McFadden got his fist to Johnny McGroddy’s delivery to rescue a much-needed score for Donegal but Keith Doyle replied instantly from 40 metres.

Ciaráin Murtagh replied to a Michael Langan free to leave Davy Burke’s men five points ahead at the break.

The game’s trajectory went all Roscommon’s way after the break as Donegal were swamped by their hosts.

It could have been worse for the visitors as Conor Cox spurned a decent goal chance when there were better options available, but the Connacht side were always able to keep the scoreboard ticking over, with Smith pulling the strings in the half-forward line.

Ciarán Thompson and substitute Jaeic McKelvey registered Donegal’s only two scores of the second period, but Roscommon were rarely troubled as Cian McKeon and Cian Connolly marked their introduction off the bench with points to hand Roscommon a facile victory.

Scorers for Roscommon: Ciaráin Murtagh 0-3, Enda Smith 0-3, Ben O’Carroll 0-3, Diarmuid Murtagh 0-3 (0-1f), Keith Doyle 0-2, Cian McKeon 0-2, Brian Stack 0-1, Niall Daly 0-1, Tadhg O’Rourke 0-1, Conor Cox 0-1, Cian Connolly 0-1.

Scorers for Donegal: Ciaran Thompson 0-2, Caolan McGonagle 0-1, Eoghan Ban Gallagher 0-1, Michael Langan 0-1 (0-1f), Conor O’Donnell 0-1, Hugh McFadden 0-1, Jamie Brennan 0-1, Jeaic McKelvey 0-1

ROSCOMMON: Conor Carroll; Conor Hussey, Brian Stack (0-01), David Murray; Niall Daly, Eoin McCormack, Dylan Ruane; Tadhg O’Rourke, Keith Doyle; Ciaráin Murtagh, Enda Smith, Niall Kilroy; Diarmuid Murtagh, Conor Cox, Ben O’Carroll. Subs: Ruaidhrí Fallon for O’Rourke 12, Donie Smith for O’Carroll h-t, Richard Hughes for Daly 41, Cian McKeon for Kilroy 41, Cian Connolly for Cox 60.

DONEGAL: Shaun Patton; Mark Curran, Brendan McCole, Caolan Ward; John Ross Molloy, Caolan McGonagle, Eoghan Ban Gallagher; Michael Langan, Jason McGee; Marty O’Reilly, Ciaran Thompson, Conor O’Donnell; Johnny McGroddy; Hugh McFadden, Jamie Brennan. Subs: Kieran Tobin for O’Reilly h-t, Jeaic McKelvey for Langan h-t, Keelan Dunleavy for McGroddy 41, Joel Bradley Walsh for McGee 66, Brian O’Donnell for Gallagher 70.

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).