Donegal eased to a 15-point win over Sligo at Coláiste Ailigh in Letterkenny this afternoon.
Donegal 2-19 Sligo 1-7
By Chris McNulty at Coláiste Ailigh
Goals in either half from Ciaran Diver and Jamie Brennan helped Donegal to a routine win, two weeks out from the start of their Dr McKenna Cup campaign.
Donegal were four points to the good (1-6 to 0-5) ahead at the break and powered past the Yeats County men, outscoring the visitors 1-13 to 1-2 in the second half.
Donegal ended the day with ten different scorers and could be encouraged by the showing of the returned Jason McGee, who caught the eye. McGee opted to drop down to the U20 squad in 2018, but was back in the senior shirt here with a fine outing.
Ciaran Thompson arched over a couple of gorgeous efforts after coming on while Niall O’Donnell, again, showed his worth with a trio of points.
Eoin McHugh, who played his football in Boston during the summer having stepped away for a year, was also back in tow for Declan Bonner’s side.
Donegal had former Mayo boss Stephen Rochford on the line for the first time following his recruitment as the team’s new coach.
Donegal were 12 in front when Brennan tucked home the second Donegal goal in the 66th minute. Brennan dispossessed George Wall and surged forward, playing a one-two with Thompson and applying a routine finish.
Substitute Adrian Cummins got on the end of Michael Gordon’s expert pass to loft over the advancing Michael Lynch, the Naomh Colmcille man among the new faces introduced in part two.
The GAA’s new rules, which are on trial during the pre-season competitions, were on view here, and the hand passes – limited to three – were being counted on route to Donegal’s 21st minute goal.
Moville man Diver batted home after an exchange involving Paddy Dolan, Diver and Locan Connor – the three newcomers to the Donegal XV.
Points from Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch and Adrian Marren got Sligo – in their first outing under new boss Paul Taylor – back to within two before Diver landed an impressive score for Donegal.
There was a return to the Donegal colours for Jason McGee, who began alongside Caolan McGonagle in the engine room, and the Cloughaneely man clipped over two of the game’s opening three points.
McGee struck twice, either side of a neat effort from Michael Langan, to give Donegal an early three-point buffer.
It was an experimental Donegal, with three starters – Shaun Patton, Langan, Caolan Ward – from the squad that played Fermanagh in the Ulster final earlier in this year.
A delightful point from McGee, squeezing inside the upright, and Caolan Ward’s tidy score put Donegal 1-6 to 0-5 ahead at the break.
The margin might have widened considerably but Alan Davy, Sligo’s goalkeeper, denied Diver and Brennan in the third quarter.
Brennan made sure with his next chance and Donegal were out of sight.
Donegal: Shaun Patton; Caolan Ward (0-1), Brendan McCole, Conor Morrison; Tony McClenaghan, Eamonn Doherty, Peadar Mogan; Jason McGee (0-3), Caolan McGonagle; Michael Langan (0-3, 1f), Martin McElhinney, Paddy Dolan; Ciaran Diver (1-1), Lorcan Connor (0-1), Martin O’Reilly. Subs: Niall O’Donnell (0-3) for O’Reilly (44), Ciaran Thompson (0-2) for Dolan (45), Jamie Brennan (1-0) for McElhinney (47), Eoin McHugh for Mogan (47), Paul Brennan and Hugh McFadden (0-2) for Doherty and McGee (50), Daragh Mulgrew (0-1) for McClenaghan (54), John Campbell for Connor (56), Oisin Gallen for Diver (57), Michael Lynch for Patton (58).
Sligo: Alan Davy; Nathan Mullen, Peter Laffey, Kevin Henry; Kealan Cawley, Paul McNamara, Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch (0-1); Paul Kilcoyne, Dara Cummins (0-1); Luke Gilmartin, Luke Towey, Oisin Kennedy (0-1); Alan McLaughlin (0-2f), Kieran O’Dowd, Adrian Marren (0-2, 1f). Subs: Barry Walsh, Niall Cummins and James Clarke for Henry, Kennedy and Towey (half-time), George Wall for Mullen (49), Michael Gordon for D.Cummins (52), Adrian Cummins (1-0) for Cawley (55).
Referee: Seamus McGonagle (Aodh Ruadh).Tags: