Paddy Carr’s first match in charge ended in defeat as Down made it two wins from two in the McKenna Cup in Newry.
Down 2-14 Donegal 1-10
Down took an early lead going five clear within six minutes thanks to a Liam Kerr goal and Niall Donnelly and Barry O’Hagan points.
Dáire Ó’Baoill got a goal back for Donegal and Patrick McBrearty pointed three times as Donegal got level 10 minutes later in a thrilling opening quarter. But the Mournemen raced clear again and went into the break five clear again with the help of a Conor Francis goal at 2-9 to 1-7.
The second half was much quieter with Donegal registering just three points as they made 11 subs in total, giving game time to some of the younger players in the squad, while Down hit five points to take a comfortable 2-14 to 1-10 win at Páirc Esler.
Niall Donnelly’s point inside two minutes got Conor Laverty’s men off to a flying start and Barry O’Hagan fired over after a good move from the home side.
A run from Danny Magill and misplaced pass found its way back to Magill before he laid the ball into the path of Liam Kerr who fired into the bottom left of the net past Michael Lynch, 1-2 to no score.
Ciaran Thompson scored a great point to get Donegal off the mark but Pat Havern instantly responded with his first point of many.
But Donegal went straight up the other end through Stephen McMenamin who found Jamie Brennan and he squared it across to Daire Ó’Baoill to punch in after a brilliant opening 10 minutes.
Havern got his second point as he found space on the right hand side but a hood solo point from Jamie Brennan and a McBrearty free left a point in it.
Havern wasn’t given as much freedom this time but he still got his left footed shot away to split the posts.
But a trademark McBrearty point on the left followed by a mark levelled the game up on 17 minutes.
But Down fired ahead again with points from Patrick Branagan and O’Hagan while a great piece of play involving O’Hagan and Fitzpatrick saw Francis get in behind on the right and he fired into the net.
Francis then fisted over and Havern pointed out on the left to make it 2-9 to 1-5 coming into added time but a free each from Brennan and McBrearty gave Donegal a bit of confidence going into the break.
The second half was quieter from both sides as Liam Kerr and a McBrearty free were the only scores of the first 10 minutes.
Havern then got his fifth and final point of the game and substitute Johnny McGroddy got a great point within a minute of coming on but Donegal were still five behind with just 10 minutes to go.
Mark Walsh converted a good score off the bench for Down while Tom Close made a clever spin before firing over to make it 2-13 to 1-9.
Both sides ended with one last point through a Mark Walsh 45 and a good score from Kane Barrett as the game ended to 2-14 to 1-10 with plenty to build on for Paddy Carr’s side before Wednesday’s match with Monaghan in MacCumhaill Park.
Donegal: Michael Lynch; Stephen McMenamin, Brendan McCole, Jamie Grant, Caolan McColgan, Caolan Ward, Jeaic McKelvey; Rory O’Donnell, Domhnall Mac Giolla Bhríde; Luke McGlynn, Ciaran Thompson (0-1), Conor O’Donnell, Jamie Brennan (0-2,1f) Patrick McBrearty (0-5, 4f) Dáire Ó’Baoill (1-0)
Subs: Ryan McFadden for Rory O’Donnell (27 mins), Joel Bradley Walsh, Jack McSharry, Mark Curran for McGlynn, McKelvey and Thompson (half-time), Kane Barrett (0-1) Brian O’Donnell and JR Molloy for Mac Giolla Bhríde, McColgan and Brennan (45 mins), Marty O’Reilly for Conor O’Donnell (58 mins), Hugh O’Donnell and Johnny McGroddy (0-1) for Brian O’Donnell and Ó’Baoill (60 mins)
Down: John O’Hare, Peter Fagan, Anthony Doherty, Pierce Laverty, Patrick Branagan (0-1), Niall McParland, Conor Francis (1-1); Niall Donnelly (0-1), Owen McCabe; Danny Magill, Liam Kerr (1-1), Barry O’Hagan (0-2,1f), Ryan McEvoy (0-1, 45), Pat Havern (0-5), Eamonn Brown.
Subs: Paddy McCarthy, Mark Walsh (0-1), Tom Close (0-1).
Referee: Maggie Farrelly (Cavan)