A draw was probably the fairest result as Donegal and Galway shared the spoils on a scoreline of 1-9 apiece in glistening sunshine at O’Donnell Park.
Donegal 1-9 Galway 1-9
On a day when former Government Minister James McDaid had the stand at the St Eunan’s ground named after him, two points would have been what the doctor might have ordered for Paddy’s Carr side.
But in the end Donegal will be happy enough to come away with a point after a late kickable Galway free missed the target in the second last kick of this encounter.
This could be a vital point for Carr’s charges which leaves them on three points out of a possible eight from four league starts.
Donegal went in 1-6 to 1-3 ahead at the break but that could have been a much stronger commanding lead but for some soft defending from the home side.
A successful penalty by the lively Oisin Gallen saw Donegal go five points ahead ahead.
The Mac Cumhaills man just managed to get the ball past Galway goalkeeper Conor Gleeson after John Daly had thrown the ball to clear his lines following a goalmouth scramble in the Galway goal.
But from the restart Pádraic Joyce’s side drove through the heart of the Donegal defence with man of the match Matthew Tierney finding the net to leave past Patton to leave just two points between the sides again.
The second half was again a nip-and-tuck encounter with little between the sides.
But despite going behind twice in the second period, Donegal showed some real battling grit and perhaps displaying their best football of the league campaign to date.
The sides both approached the game in a cautious manner swapping points early on.
Donegal managed to go 0-5 to 0-3 ahead in the 20th minute thanks to a sweetly struck 50 metre free from Shaun Patton before the vital goals were swapped just before half-time.
Galways started the stronger in the second period and Finnerty leveled the sides on 52 minutes.
Caolan McColgan put in a big shift and his vital tackle on Finnerty when he was almost through on goal saw Galway just ahead by a single point at 1-6 to 1-7.
Donegal were somewhat wasteful and shot wide of the target while at least two other efforts fell short and safely into Gleeson’s hands.
How they might have wished that the sweet left boot of Paddy McBrearty was available instead of on crutches in the Dr James McDaid stand looking on.
Oisin Gallen did manage to score a fine point to add to his tally of 1-1 to leave just a point between the sides before Conor O’Donnell popped up to level the scores at 1-9 apiece.
Peader Mogan, just a couple of minutes ealrier, might have been the hero only for Gleeson to save from the Mountcharles man.
The last say was left to Paul Conroy after a senseless shove by Stephen McMenamin but the Galway man was inches wide with what could have been the decisive point on 75 minutes.
Referee David Coldrick blew the result from Shaun Patton’s resulting kick-out and the spoils were shared.
Donegal: Shaun Patton; Mark Curran, Brendan McCole, Martin O’Reilly; Caolan McColgan, Stephen McMenamin, Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Caolan McGonagle, Jason McGee; Michael Langan, Daire Ó Baoill, Conor O’Donnell, Hugh McFadden, Oisin Gallen, Jamie Brennan. Subs – Peadar Mogan for O’Reilly (half-time), Rory O’Donnell for McFadden (60), John McGroddy for Ó Baoill (67)
Galway: Conor Gleeson; Jack Glynn, Sean Kelly, Eoghan Kelly; Dylan McHugh, John Daly, Cathal Sweeney, Paul Conroy, Cillian McDaid, Matthew Tierney, Peter Cooke, Johnny Heaney; Patrick Kelly, Gerard Davoren, Ian Burke. Subs: Rob Finnerty for Davoren (half-time), John Maher and Ryan Monaghan for Cooke and P Kelly (49), Dessie Conneely for McDaid (55).
Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)