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Hugh McFadden, Donegal, and Darragh Campion, Meath in Allianz Football League Division Two action.
Hugh McFadden, Donegal, and Darragh Campion, Meath in Allianz Football League Division Two action.

Allianz FL D2: Donegal win again

Allianz Football League Division Two


By Chris McNulty at Ballybofey

Caolan McGonagle’s goal, eleven minutes from the end, was the big score as Donegal came from behind to overcome Meath in Ballybofey.

McGonagle rose to steer home from Eoghan Ban Gallagher’s ball in. The Buncrana man got ahead of Meath goalkeeper Andrew Colgan to net a precious goal.

Ciaran Thompson levelled it up and injury time scores from Eoin McHugh and Jamie Brennan saw Donegal home on a bitter Ballybofey night while McGonagle stepped up with a big block a couple of monster fetches in the closing stages.

Meath paid a touching tribute to the four victims of last Sunday’s horrific road traffic accident in west Donegal as county secretary Mairead Donnelly presented Donegal’s Central Council delegate Seamus Ó Domhnaill with four candles.

Donegal were a point behind, 0-8 to 0-7, at the end of the first half. Niall O’Donnell drilled over a free to bring Donegal level, but Mickey Newman (2), Bryan Menton and Shane McEntee soon had Meath four ahead.

Both sides had won on the opening day, with Donegal victorious against Clare in Ennis and Meath getting the better of Tipperary in Navan six days ago.

Brennan and Thompson – with a booming effort from the stand side – got Donegal off to a great start, but the hosts didn’t score again until Thompson registered in the 18th minute.

In between times, Newman, Shane McEntee, Darragh Campion and Niall Kane edged Meath into the driving seat.

Campion, from a standing position just shy of the ’45, hammered over again for the Royals, who would lead, but only just, at the end of an entertaining first half.

Ciaran Thompson’s quartet of points helped to keep Donegal in touch but Niall Kane’s brace of points at the other end had Meath in front, but only just.

Ethan Devine’s point late in the half inched Meath ahead after Thompson briefly brought Donegal onto level terms.

When McHugh, a substitute, put Donegal’s noses ahead in added time, it was the first time the Tir Chonaill men were in front since the fifth minute. Crucially, though, Brennan added an insurance point and Donegal are two wins from two.

Scorers for Donegal: C Thompson 0-5 (2fs), N O’Donnell 0-3 (2fs), C McGonagle 1-0, J Brennan 0-2, M Langan, M O’Reilly (1m), E McHugh 0-1 each.

Scorers for Meath: D Campion, M Newman 0-3 (2fs), J McEntee, S McEntee, N Kane 0-2 each, E Devine, B Menton 0-1 each

DONEGAL: Mark Anthony McGinley; Conor Morrison, Brendan McCole, Eoghan Ban Gallagher; Caolan Ward, Eamonn Doherty, Ryan McHugh; Hugh McFadden, Michael Langan; Niall O’Donnell, Ciaran Thompson, Caolan McGonagle; Martin O’Reilly, Martin McElhinney, Jamie Brennan.

Subs: Leo McLoone for Langan (half-time), Jason McGee for McElhinney (45), Stephen McMenamin for O’Reilly (45), Eoin McHugh for Doherty (67), Paul Brennan for O’Donnell (75).

MEATH: Andrew Colgan; Seamus Lavin, Conor McGill, Ronan Ryan; James McEntee, Donal Keogan, Niall Kane; Bryan Menton, Shane McEntee; Ethan Devine, Ben Brennan, Bryan McMahon; Darragh Campion, Mickey Newman, Thomas O’Reilly.

Subs: Cillian O’Sullivan for Brennan (half-time), Graham Reilly for Devine (47), James Conlon for Bryan McMahon (55), Jason Scully for Campion (67), Michael Burke for Newman (72).

REFEREE: Jerome Henry (Mayo).

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