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Murphy return gives Donegal fresh impetus

Donegal secured got their first points of the campaign with a gritty display against Cork in MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey.

The return of Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden boosted the home side, with Murphy firing in a blistering goal after just 12 seconds.

The big full-forward, who had groin surgery in January, fielded a Karl Lacey centre to turn and blast to the net.

The home side dominated the early stages but failed to stamp their authority on the scoreboard and by half-time they had added just two more points, those coming late in the half, to lead by 1-2 to 0-4.


Colm O'Neill marked his return to the Cork colours with a good score; the two Donegal points came from a Murphy free and Frank McGlynn, while Aidan Walsh and Donncha O'Connor were among the Cork scorers.

Walsh had made the journey to Donegal after playing in the Fitzgibbon Cup final on Saturday, and he registered Cork's first point.

"It's been a while coming. I thought we were very deserving winners," said Donegal assistant manager Rory Gallagher. "In the second half I thought there was only one team in it and but for poor finishing, we would have won easier.

"Cork were a bit shell-shocked by the opening goal and we should have added a few more points but they were still in it at half-time. They took their chances much better than us," added Gallagher, who felt that Cork were dominant for a period of the start of the second half.

Paddy Kelly was very influential in that period. He had the sides level inside three minutes and O'Neill had Cork ahead a minute later from a free. But the Rebels were unable to raise another flag for the rest of the game, a full 33 minutes, so they can have little complaint with the final outcome.

Donegal's inability to transfer possession into scores became worrying and they also had to pull Murphy out around midfield to gain parity in that area.

But it was Murphy who levelled on 47 minutes with the point of the game with his left boot, and McFadden was denied a goal a few minutes later.

But once Murphy put them back in front from a '45, they never looked back with McFadden, Lacey and newcomer Martin O'Reilly pushing them clear.

"It was very disappointing," said Cork manager Conor Counihan. "There was a stage in the second half there where we got a point ahead and it might've been there for the taking but in fairness to Donegal they shut us down well."

Man of the Match: M Murphy (Donegal)

Scorers -- Donegal: M Murphy 1-3 (1f, 1 '45'), F McGlynn, K Lacey, C McFadden, M O'Reilly 0-1 each. Cork: D O'Connor 0-2, A Walsh, C O'Neill, M Collins and P Kelly 0-1 each

Donegal -- P Durcan 7; F McGlynn 6, N McGee 7, P McGrath 6; E McGee 5, K Lacey 7, L McLoone 5; R Kavanagh 7, N Gallagher 7; M McHugh 6, R Bradley 6, C Toye 5; D Walsh 5, M Murphy 8, C McFadden 5. Subs: P McBrearty 5 and A Thompson 5 for Toye and E McGee (34), M O'Reilly 6 for Walsh (45), D McLaughlin 5 for Bradley (52).

Cork -- K O'Halloran 7; R Carey 5, E O'Mahony 6, E Cotter 6; N O'Leary 6, G Canty 6, P Kissane 7; A Walsh 7, F Goold 5; P Kerrigan 5, M Collins 6, P Kelly 7; C O'Neill 6, D O'Connor 6, B O'Driscoll 5. Subs: L Shorten 5 for O'Driscoll (61), J Fitzpatrick 5 for Goold (61), D O'Sullivan 4 for O'Neill (63).

Ref -- P O'Sullivan (Kerry).

Irish Independent

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