It took five late points for Donegal to finally beat a determined Armagh team who fought back from eight points down in the 50th minute to level the game.
By Charlie Collins in O’Donnell Park
Donegal were missing the key pair of Sean McVeigh and Declan Coulter from the match day squad.
They also suffered another blow when Padraig Doherty was unable to start- on the plus side they welcomed Richie Ryan to the starting line-up .
Following their away win in Fermanagh last week, this was a vital game for Mickey McCann’s men against an Armagh team that was somewhat surprisingly heavily beaten at home by Roscommon in their opening game.
Davin Flynn (main picture) and Eoin McGuinness exchanged good early points and that pattern continued in a lively opening period as Stephen Gillespie converted a super point from long range for Donegal.
However, Paddy McBride and Ryan Gaffney replied quickly for Armagh who led 0-03 to 0-02 after just six minutes.
Ruairi Campbell scored a super solo point to level things up but Eoin McGuinness put Armagh ahead again.
It was score for score after this. Davin Flynn pointed three times from frees and Richie Ryan hooked over from an acute angle, but four from Dean Gaffney and one from Paddy McBride gave Armagh a two point lead 0-09 to 0-07. But back came Donegal with points from Flynn, Gerry Gilmore and Richie Ryan to lead 0-10 to 0-09.
On the stroke of half-time Armagh had a goal chance but when Shea Harvey failed to make contact with his first effort, his second attempt was blocked out to leave Donegal just ahead at the break.
Half-time Donegal 0-10 Armagh 0-9
Dean Gaffney and Davin Flynn exchanged early second-half points and then in the 41st minute we had the game’s first goal.
Ronan McDermott sent in a long high puck and Richie Ryan got the slightest of touches, but enough to get the ball past keeper Woods into the net – 1-11 to 0-10 to Donegal.
Flynn and Jack O Loughlin added points, Dean Gaffney replied but another two from Flynn and one from sub Liam McKinney put Donegal eight in front 1-16 to 0-11.
That didn’t last long as Lorcan Oliver goaled and Ryan Gaffney pointed for Armagh to reduce the lead to four.
Davin Flynn replied but points from Stephen McKearney and Tiarnan O’Hare and a second Armagh goal from sub Danny McGee left the teams level 1-17 to 2-14 with less than ten minutes left.
However, Donegal rallied again to finish strongly and impressively with five unanswered points – three from Davin Flynn to bring his total to 0-13- another super performance from him.
One each from Daire O’Maoileidigh and Richie Ryan left the final score 1-22 to 2-14 to Donegal.
Next week Donegal host Roscommon on Saturday, again in O Donnell Park.
Donegal : Luke White, Gavin Browne, Stephen Gillespie (0-01), Ruairi Campbell (0-01), Jack O Loughlin, Michael Donaghue, Conor O’Grady, Danny Cullen, Brian McIntyre, Conor Gartland, Ronan McDermott, Richie Ryan (1-03), Gerry Gilmore (0-01), Davin Flynn ( 0-13 – 8f’s/65 ) and Daire O’Maoileidigh (0-01). Subs; Liam McKinney 0-01 for Gatland (43mins ), Stephen McBride for McIntyre (64 mins), Padraig Doherty for O Loughlin (65 mins), Oisín Marley for Gilmore (66 mins).
Armagh ; Fintan Woods , Caolan Rice , Artie McGuinness , Paddy Quinn, Lorcan Oliver ( 1-00), , Kevin McKernan , David Bridges, Niall Lennon , Paddy McBride (0-02 ), Shaun Toal , Dean Gaffney ( 0-07/5f’s) , Stephen McKearney , Eoin McGuinness (0-02) , Ryan Gaffney (0-02) and Shea Harvey. Subs ; Danny McGee 1-00 for Toal (45mins ), Tiarnan O Hare 0-01 for Bridges (48mins).
Referee : James Judge ( Mayo).