Donegal Masters begin Championship campaign with away win

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Val Murray and his Donegal Masters team got their Championship Campaign off to a great start with an impressive win over the combined Longford/Leitrim Masters last night in Ballinamore.

Donegal Masters 1-15 Longford/Leitrim Masters 0-9

Following on from last year’s All-Ireland Shield victory, the Donegal men would have ambitions for the cup this year and a good start was required the first day out.

The panel size has increased with many new additions and 30 men made the 2 hour trip to Leitrim.

Played in perfect conditions both teams were getting to grips with themselves and each other in the early stages but Donegal broke the deadlock on 4 minutes and hit two points from Paul McGonigle, free, and Benny Cassidy from play.

The hosts opened their own scoring after 9 minutes but a much more potent Donegal side replied when the new addition from the St. Micheal’s club, Brian McLaughlin, had carved in with a sniff of a goal chance but took the smart option to point over.

McLaughlin had his chance for a second point but his shot fell short to the keeper’s grateful hands. Longford tallied another 2 points to keep the game close but points from play from Ballyshannon man Michael “Sticky” Ward and Benny Cassidy kept the lead to a fragile 2 points.

Donegal Masters

Another debutant for the Donegal side was Sean Mac Cumhaill’s man Seamus McGinty whose fine effort in from a good distance out whacked the crossbar but unfortunately for Donegal the Longford back line cleared the danger.

Glenfin’s Johnny McGinty added point number 6 for Donegal just before half time and 3 point advantage over Longford at the break.

In the second half the gel had started to dry and the Donegal team would go on to hit 1-9.

Glenswilly’s Charlie Bonner got things going inside the one-minute mark of the half pointing over. Muff’s Dermot McColgan and Four Master’s man Benny Cassidy (2) along with Sticky Ward added another 4 points with Longford adding 3 more to their own tally.

Seamus McGinty pointed from play and things were really looking good for Donegal when they goaled on the 44 minute mark. Kilcar’s David McShane played Brian McLaughlin in who netted. With momentum on the Donegal men’s side they would go on to add another 4 points from Kieran Barron, Brian McLaughlin, Charlie Bonner and Paul McGlynn.

Donegal scorers: Brian McLaughlin 1-2 (1f), Benny Cassidy 0-4 (1f), Charlie Bonner (0-2), Paul McGonigle (f), Michael ‘Sticky’ Ward, Seamus McGinty, Johnny McGinty, Dermot McColgan, Kieran Barron, Paul McGlynn 0-1 each.

Sports writer from St Johnston, now based in Letterkenny, with ten years' experience covering sport in Donegal. Was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.

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