DONEGAL bounced back from their opening round defeat to Kildare to comfortably defeat down 0-12 to 0-7 at Ballybofey.
The continued good form of Michael Murphy and the fact that Down went 32 minutes without scoring were the deciding factors in this clash.
Murphy traded frees with Down’s Donal O’Hare before Michael Cunningham made a great save to deny Donegal’s Neil McGee.
Ross Wherity pointed impressively from play but two O’Hare frees and Kevin McKernan’s long range effort meant their lead was short-lived.
Donal O’Hare then added a point from play before frees from Colm McFadden and Murphy meant that Down held a slender 0-5 to 0-4 advantage at half-time.
Michael Murphy levelled matters shortly after the restart and Donegal should have been further ahead but Leo McCloone fluffed his lines in front of goal.
Rory Kavanagh pointed from distance and McCloone made up for his earlier miss with his own point from play before a further three Michael Murphy points stretched the lead to five points.
Declan Walsh increaed that to six before Donal O’Hare scored Down’s first point in 32 minutes and Kevin McKernan slotted his second point.
Any chance of a comeback evaporated when Daniel McLaughlin kicked the final point of the game to give the All-Ireland champions the points.