Dublin’s quest to maintain their top-flight status continues on the final day after a deserved win over fellow contenders Donegal at Croke Park.
essie Farrell’s men have been in control for a long time, even if they conceded a number of scoring chances, meaning Donegal are also in the race for relegation.
Dublin had been trailing by five at times in the first half. Paddy McBrearty was already causing problems for Dublin when the normally stalwart Michael Fitzsimons lost his footing near the top of the hill.
McBrearty launched a point attempt but his shot turned over the head of Michael Shiel, who had been a late replacement for Evan Comerford, and into the Dublin net. Donegal had their tails up now and a free Michael Murphy and another McBreaty strike put Donegal 1-4 0-2 in the 16th minute.
Despite being behind, Dublin had looked dangerous in attack. Her first point came from Dean Rock, but only after a Shaun Patton made a decent save. But there was nothing Patton could do in the 20th minute as Niall Scully placed his shot in the bottom corner after a sweeping movement began when a ball bounced over Jamie Brennan’s head.
Donegal responded with a point from Aaron Doherty but Dublin took charge from there. Scully saw an outrageous attempt at praise go just wide of the gate as Patton crawled back onto his gate. Dublin were now in full control and they scored the last five points of the half to go 8-1, 5-1 at the break.
The second half started slowly and saw no goal until the 43rd minute when Conor O’Donnell reduced the deficit to two, but Dublin were ahead and should have scored when Brian Fenton hit the side netting from close range.
Brian Howard’s third point of the day put them five points clear but with Murphy up front Donegal was a bigger threat. And when he hit Ryan McHugh’s middle, Donegal was just two down the stretch.
Dublin kept their composure and completed the job when Mick Fitzsimons was fouled for a penalty which Rock expertly converted.
Scorers – Dublin: D Rock 1-5 (1-0 Pen, 3f), C Costello, B Howard 0-3 each, N Scully 1-0, B Fenton 0-2, T Lahiff, S Bugler 0-1 each
Donegal: P McBrearty 1-6 (1f), M Murphy 1-1 (1f), C O’Donnell 0-2, R McHugh, A Doherty 0-1 each.
Dublin: M Shiel; Fitzsimons M, Byrne D, Murphy C; J McCarthy, J Cooper, R McDaid; B. Fenton, T. Lahiff; B Howard, S Hornist, N Scully; C Kilkenny, C Costello, D Rock SUBS: E Murchan for Cooper (52), L Gannon for Scully (64), B O’Leary for Costello (67), C O’Shea for McCarthy ( 72).
Donegal: S Patton; Ward C, McMenamin S, McCole B; R McHugh, O McFadden Ferry, E Ban Gallagher; H McFadden, J McGee; C O’Donnell, A Doherty, P Mogan; P McBrearty, M Murphy, J Brennan SUBS: S O’Donnell for Brennan (50), E O’Donnell for Doherty (56), J McKelvey for McHugh (60), P Brennan for McFadden (62), A Wright for Kilkenny (70), N McGee for McMenamin (70),
Referee: C. Reilly (Meath)
https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/gaelic-football/dublin-take-step-towards-division-one-survival-with-crucial-win-against-donegal-41468337.html Dublin takes a step towards surviving in Division One with a crucial win over Donegal