Allianz FL D1: Galway secure valuable victory
Allianz Football League Division One
GALWAY 2-8 DONEGAL 2-7
By Chris McNulty at Letterkenny
Galway came from seven points down to overcome Donegal.
Corner-backs Johnny Heaney and Séan Kelly netted second half goals as the Tribesmen scored a valuable win.
Donegal saw Ciaran Thompson and captain Michael Murphy put late frees wide and the chance of a share of the spoils evaporated. Murphy’s effort trailed off to the right with almost eight minutes of added time played.
It was a complete turnaround from a stage, early in the second half, when Donegal looked well on their way to victory.
Murphy had blasted a penalty past Galway’s substitute goalkeeper Ronan Ó Beoláin on 22 minutes.
Four minutes earlier, Jamie Brennan’s heels were clipped. A delay ensued with ‘keeper Connor Gleeson black carded.
Amid confusion, Ó Beoláin came on and Finnian Ó Laoí was nominated to spend 10 minutes in the sin bin.
Murphy’s penalty helped Donegal lead 1-3 to 0-4 at half-time and Ciaran Thompson brilliantly riffled home a second goal seven minutes after the re-start.
Ryan McHugh’s delightful pass opened the possibilities and Brennan made no mistake.
Galway, though, weren’t going to throw in the towel and they issued an immediate riposte as corner-back Heaney, put through by Shane Walsh, powered past Shaun Patton.
Walsh’s subsequent point had just a goal in it and teed up a tasty last 25 minutes and Galway hit back to take a win and leave Donegal’s poor record in Letterkenny now standing at just two wins from their last 16 games at the venue.
Galway led again in the 53rd minute when Kelly was allowed weave in to find the bottom corner of the Tir Chonaill net.
Murphy reduced the arrears with an advanced mark, but Michael Daly and Walsh scored two in as many minutes to put Galway in command.
Donegal thought they had levelled things up when Murphy batted over from Paul Brennan’s ball in, but a square ball infringement saw the effort chalked off.
Donegal showed just one change form last weekend’s away win over Meath as Caolan McGonagle took the place of the injured Hugh McFadden at midfield.
Early scores by Walsh and Robert Finnerty posted early Galway scores, with Peadar Mogan grabbing Donegal’s opening point in the 13th minute.
Only for the fingertips of the Galway goalkeeper, Connor Gleeson, Mogan would’ve been wheeling away celebrating a goal.
Mogan took an offload from Murphy and had the net in his crosshairs, but Gleeson helped turn it over.
As they had done in Navan - when netting three times - Donegal were hungry for goals.
Brennan had an attempt cleared off the line by John Daly before Murphy slammed home the penalty.
Thompson’s goal might have had Donegal home and hosed, but Heaney and Kelly ensured that Galway weren’t going home quietly.
The Tribesmen finished with 15 men as Michael Daly was sent off two minutes from the end, but they were able to hang on - but only just.
Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-4 (2fs), Séan Kelly, Johnny Heaney 1-0 each, Robert Finnerty 0-2, Michael Daly, Damien Comer, 0-1 each.
Scorers for Donegal: Michael Murphy 1-3, (1-0pen, 1f, 1 ’45, 1m), Ciaran Thompson 1-1 (1f), Jamie Brennan 0-2 (1m), Peadar Mogan, 0-1.
GALWAY: Connor Gleeson; Séan Kelly, Séan Mulkerrin, Johnny Heaney; Gary O’Donnell, John Daly, Cillian McDaid; Ronan Steede, Cein D’Arcy; Finnian Ó Laoí, Damien Comer, Michael Daly; Robert Finnerty, Shane Walsh, Michael Boyle.
Subs: Ronan Ó Beoláin for O Laoi (22), Finnian O Laoi for Gleeson (32), Conor Campbell for McDaid (35+3), Adrian Varley for Steede (HT), Paul Conroy for O Laoi (44).
DONEGAL: Shaun Patton; Caolan Ward, Neil McGee, Eoghan Ban Gallagher; Ryan McHugh, Conor O’Donnell, Odhrán McFadden-Ferry; Caolan McGonagle, Michael Langan; Eoin McHugh, Peadar Mogan, Paul Brennan; Ciaran Thompson, Michael Murphy, Jamie Brennan.
Subs: Niall O’Donnell for Mogan (35), Andrew McClean for McGonagle (half-time), Daire Ó Baoill for E.McHugh (55).
REFEREE: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).