Roscommon 2-09 Donegal 0-16
Conor Devaney fired a superb goal for Roscommon four minutes from time, but Eoin McHugh’s injury-time point proved the winner for Donegal on a 0-16 to 2-09 scoreline after a pulsating tussle at Dr Hyde Park.
A draw looked certain after Devaney’s shot hit the net late on, but Donegal forced the winner to give Rory Gallagher’s side their first win of the campaign.
A powerful second-half showing led by Martin O’Reilly looked to have fallen short as Roscommon rallied late on, but Roscommon only kicked two point to their half-time tally as they couldn’t defend their three-point half-time lead.
For much of the first-half Donegal seemed to be the stronger team too, but Roscommon still managed to lead by 1-07 to 0-07 at the interval, thanks largely to Ciaran Murtagh’s 22nd minute goal.
Playing into a very strong wind on the newly redeveloped surface at Hyde Park, Donegal took an early two-point lead when Michael Murphy and the excellent Ciaran Thompson landed points.
Fintan Cregg and Enda Smith both flicked points over the bar for Roscommon after initial attempts had dropped short, but Enda Smith was the real danger man for the home side.
He ran on to a great pass from midfielder Kevin Higgins to level the scores at 0-04 each in the 22nd minute, and straight from the next kick-out Murtagh intercepted Mark Anthony McGinley’s short restart, swapped passed with Smith before he tapped the ball to the net.
Eoin McHugh and Murphy kept Donegal in touch at the break, and after another Murtagh point to start the second-half, Rory Gallagehr’s side took total control. Thompson, Eoghan Bán Gallageher and Paddy McBrearty hit great points to close the gap to a point, but only a great save from Niall McInerney denied Jamie Brennan a goal for Donegal soon after.
Brennan did find the target to pull Donegal level in the 47th minute, and despite another Murtagh point, the visitors were the team that responded with another four points unanswered – three of which came form the excellent Martin O’Reilly – as Donegal led by three.
Roscommon looked dead and buried at that juncture, but when they worked a short 45, and Devaney hit the top corner from the edge of the ‘d’, a share of the points looked the likely outcome.
Ronan Stack could have won it late on for Roscommon, but McGinley smothered his shot, and Donegal went straight up the field and Eoin McHugh kicked the winning score.
Donegal: MA McGinley; C Ward, N McGee, P McGrath; R McHugh, E Gallagher (0-01), P Brennan; J McGee, M Carroll (0-01); C Thompson (0-03), M O’Reilly (0-03), E McHugh (0-03); P McBrearty (0-02, 0-01f), M Murphy (c) (0-02, 0-02f), J Brennan (0-01).
Subs used: M McHugh for Paul Brennan (17), Frank McGlynn for Mark McHugh (h-t), Darrach O’Connor for McBrearty (50), C Gibbons for J Brennan (64), E Doherty for N McGee (69), H McFadden for O’Connor (73 BC).
Roscommon: C Lavin; S McDermott, T Featherston, N McInerney; R Stack, S Mullooly, J McManus; K Higgins (0-02), T O’Rourke; S Killoran, C Murtagh (c) (1-04, 0-02f), E Smith (0-02); D Smith, F Cregg (0-01), C Devaney (1-00).
Subs used: T Corcoran for Higgins (48), N Kilroy for Cregg (50), C Connolly for D Smith (58), G Patterson for Murtagh (67).
Referee: Derek O’Mahoney (Tipperary).