Michael Murphy missed a penalty and then stood up to score from the spot when a second was awarded as Donegal ran out winners in Navan in their Allianz League Division 1 clash with Meath this afternoon.
Meath 0-7 Donegal 3-8
By Alan Foley at Pairc Tailteann. Pictures by Evan Logan
The Donegal skipper didn’t flinch from the responsibility and his success at the second time of asking meant Donegal were able to go in 2-2 to 0-4 in front at half-time, with Odhran McFadden-Ferry netting the opening goal of the game.
In the second half, Michael Langan slapped home a third goal following excellent support play by Ryan McHugh and Jamie Brennan was unfortunate not to add a fourth goal in the closing stages.
Michael Murphy during this afternoon’s Allianz League Division 1 clash between Donegal and Meath in Naven. Photo Evan Logan
Andy McEntee’s Meath would not have been in any way satisfied with their showing, bar maybe a reasonable start upon which they did not build.
Facing into a stiff breeze, Donegal were 0-3 to 0-1 down on 15 minutes with Thomas O’Reilly and David Toner pointing before a free from Cillian O’Sullivan, with Murphy scoring Donegal’s opening score from a free.
When Hugh McFadden found Jamie Brennan a minute later, though, Robin Clarke was forced to foul and Conor Lane, the match referee, signaled for a penalty.
Up stepped Murphy, against Marcus Brennan, who wasn’t even in the Meath panel last weekend when they went down 1-14 to 1-9 against Tyrone. Brennan saved the penalty, down low to his left, to keep the hosts two points in front.
Meath were forced to draft in Brennan in goal after their difficulties between the sticks last weekend in Omagh, where Dominic Yorke struggled in the opening 35 minutes. Yorke himself was only drafted into the team after an injury in the warm-up to Andrew Colgan.
Barry Dardis, a forward, had to fill in and although was named in the match programme today, was replaced before throw-in by Brennan.
Meath were lining out on their home patch Pairc Tailteann in the top flight for the first time in 14 years and were full of bubble to begin with. Donegal were out of sorts in the opening quarter, but got to grips with the situation the longer the half went on.
At 0-4 to 0-1 down on 24 minutes Ciaran Thompson popped over a free before a goal three minutes later from an unlikely source – McFadden-Ferry was in space on the Donegal left and having been found by Jamie Brennan made his way inside before smashing past Brennan.
Donegal were awarded a second penalty two minutes before the break, when Ryan McHugh was fouled by Meath full-back Conor McGill, who was sin-binned for his troubles. Murphy went for the same corner – his bottom left – and dispatched with a more powerful strike than beforehand.
At half-time Donegal were 2-2 to 0-4 in front.
Declan Bonner made only one change from the team that drew 2-13 to 0-19 against Mayo in Ballybofey last Saturday with Hugh McFadden coming in for Caolan McGonagle, who has a hamstring injury. Patrick McBrearty has since returned from holiday in the United States, but was not part of the panel.
Donegal had the wind in their sails for the second half, although Ryan McHugh opted to run at the Meath defence and, on 39 minutes, found space with aplomb to centre for Langan to palm home a third goal – Meathn 0-4 Donegal 3-2.
Even though they’d three goals on the board, Donegal hadn’t scored a point from play until Jamie Brennan registered on the 40thminute. Hugh McFadden punched over soon afterwards, following O’Reilly grabbing Meath’s first score in some 19 minutes.
Murphy went in hard on Donal Koegan midway through the half and although the home support were baying for blood, referee Lane waved only a yellow.
Meath were trying to force the issue in a valiant bid to get back into the contest, although poor shooting and Donegal’s abilities on the counter meant the outcome was never seriously under threat.
A second point from Jamie Brennan on 52 minutes was the perfect example of this and put the visitors 3-5 to 0-6 ahead. The Bundoran forward then was on the end of an intricate Donegal move and saw his shot tipped onto the crossbar by Brennan.
Langan added a fine score with the assistance of the wind just as the trundles of the disappointed home support were headed for the exit ages with the grey skies about to burst. Niall O’Donnell and Murphy rounded off the scoring, when McGill took a pull at him and although it looked inside the square, only a free was given.
Donegal welcome Galway to Letterkenny this day week.
Meath:Marcus Brennan; Robin Clarke, Conor McGill (BC 32), David Toner (0-1); James McEntee, Ronan Jones, Donal Keogan; Bryan Menton, Brian Conlon; Matthew Costello, Bryan McMahon (0-1, 1f), Eamon Wallace; Cillian O’Sullivan (0-1, 1f), Thomas O’Reilly (0-3), Joey Wallace. Subs: Ben Brennan for Costello (half-time), Ethan Devine for Wallace (48), Ronan Ryan for Conlon (56), Sean Tobin and James Conlon for McMahon and Wallace (62)
Donegal:Shaun Patton; Caolan Ward, Neil McGee, Eoghan Ban Gallagher; Odhran McFadden-Ferry (1-0), Conor O’Donnell, Paul Brennan; Hugh McFadden (0-1), Michael Langan (1-1); Eoin McHugh, Ryan McHugh, Jamie Brennan (0-2); Ciaran Thompson (0-1, 1f), Michael Murphy (1-2, 1-0 pen, 2f), Peadar Mogan. Subs: Andrew McClean for E McHugh (50), Niall O’Donnell (0-1) and Brendan McCole for Mogan and McFadden-Ferry (56), Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí for McFadden (66), Ciaran Diver for P Brennan (70).
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)Tags: