A SEVENTEEN-POINT WIN for Donegal in Newry was a perfect way for Rory Gallagher’s side to start the Allianz Football League Division 1.
Donegal strolled to a 3-15 to 0-7 victory over Down on an impressive start to the campaign with Ryan McHugh scoring two second half goals.
The Kilcar clubman felt the away victory set Donegal off on the right foot, with a meeting with Cork to come at Fr Tierney Park this day week.
“We knew coming it here it would be tough but we’re just delighted to get the win and we can take that back to Ballyshannon against Cork next week,” McHugh told Setanta Sports afterwards.
Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the win was Gallagher’s use of the panel, with Michéal Carroll, Ciaran Thompson and Eoin McHugh showing well, while Peter Boyle saved a first half penalty from Donal O’Hare.
From the bench, Stephen McBrearty and Caolan McGonagle saw some game-time. As well as that though, Donegal could also bring in the likes of Eamon McGee, Neil Gallagher, Leo McLoone and Rory Kavanagh.
“Every year you need new blood coming into the panel and thankfully Rory brought them in tonight,” 21-year-old McHugh added. “You also can’t beat experience with Rory Kavanagh and Neil Gallagher.”
Rory Gallagher said at the outset of the league that six points might be enough to seal his primary goal – survival – but with back-to-back home games to come, with Mayo visiting Ballybofey on Sunday, February 28, Donegal are in a decent position.
“It’s all about staying up first of all but whatever happens happens,” McHugh said of Donegal’s chances of a top-four finish, which would in turn guarantee a league semi-final place. “We’ll just prepare best as we can and try and get a result next week.”