Murphy and McFadden destroy Derry
Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden combined to devastating effect at Celtic Park as Donegal emerged worthy winners over Derry in an open and entertaining encounter.
The deadly duo provided a display of power, pace and finishing prowess as they racked up a tally of 2-10 to continue Donegal's inexorable progress back to Division 1 football.
The sharpshooters were abetted by their team's superiority at midfield, where Rory Kavanagh's driving presence punched holes in the Oak Leaf defence that Murphy and McFadden exploited.
Derry were dealt a blow before the throw-in when dangerman Paddy Bradley pulled up in the warm-up, but his replacement Cailean O'Boyle announced himself with a goal and a point in the opening three minutes.
However, despite playing into a stiff wind, Donegal soon settled and, with Murphy and McFadden in flying form, set about reeling in the deficit and were level at 1-5 to 0-8 after 28 minutes.
When McFadden burst through the Derry backline to goal from a narrow angle on 31 minutes, Donegal got their noses in front for the first time and they led by 1-11 to 1-9 at the break.
Though Derry got back into the game when O'Boyle scored a 51st minute penalty to level matters at
2-10 to 1-13, the pattern of the game was still one of Donegal dominance.
A free from Dermot Molloy put Donegal back in front, and then Murphy burst through to finish emphatically for a goal that created a gap Derry were never going to bridge.
Any hopes of a Derry fightback were extinguished when they were reduced to 14 men, Kevin McCloy receiving a second yellow card 13 minutes from time.
Even the introduction of Derry talisman Bradley from the bench couldn't turn the tide and with Murphy continuing to keep the scoreboard ticking over, Donegal were comfortable winners at the final whistle.
Man of the Match: Michael Murphy
Scorers -- Donegal: M Murphy 1-7 (6f), C McFadden 1-3, D Molly 0-5 (5f), K Lacey, R Kavanagh, M McElhinney 0-1. Derry: C O'Boyle 2-1, C Gilligan 0-6 (6f), G O'Kane 0-2, C McGoldrick, E Muldoon, C Kielt 0-1 each.
Donegal -- P Durkan 5; P McGrath 6, N McGee 6, K Lacey 7; A Thompson 6, F McGlynn 6, K Cassidy 7; R Kavanagh 8, M McElhinney 7; M Hegarty 6, M McHugh 7, D Molloy 6; R Bradley 6, M Murphy 9, C McFadden 8. Subs: J Noctor 5 for McGee (39), N Gallagher 5 for Hegarty (55), D Walsh 5 for McElhinney (55).
Derry -- D Devlin 5; C Mullan 4, K McCloy 5, D McBride 6; G O'Kane 8, J O'Kane 7, A McAlynn 4; PJ McCloskey 5, M Friel 6; C McGoldrick 5, SL McGoldrick 5, M Donaghy 5; E Muldoon 5, C O'Boyle 7, C Gilligan 6. Subs: C Kielt 5 for McAlynn (26), B McGoldrick 5 for C Mullan (h-t), M Lynch 6 for C McGoldrick (43), P Bradley 5 for McCloskey (49), J Kielt 5 for M Donaghy (62).
Ref -- P Hughes (Armagh).