Sport Gaelic Football

Thursday 18 January 2018

The game at a glance

Man of the match

Frank McGlynn (Donegal)

Mark McHugh and Ryan Bradley were two other contenders, but when Donegal were struggling to get a breath in the first half, McGlynn was brilliant and created two clear goal chances, one of which was taken.

Turning point

Six minutes into the second half Martin McElhinney forced a turnover from Kevin McKernan around his own '45'. From there he carried the ball and set up Michael Murphy's first score of the game and when Donegal followed that with two more quick points to pull clear, the pendulum had swung.

Talking point

How committed Down were at the start but how quickly their fight ran out when Donegal got a grip at midfield. They came with a plan and excellent work-rate, but when Donegal fought back, they fizzled out.

Magic moment

At one point in the final quarter Colm McFadden was surrounded by three men yet still managed to sell them all a dummy and score a wonder-point.

Ref watch

Joe McQuillan flashed the yellows early, obviously to keep everything to the letter of the law, and really did little wrong.

What they said

Jim McGuinness (Donegal manager):

"We had to go and defend the title and thankfully we've done that. We'd huge Donegal support here, and I hope that increases participation across the clubs in Donegal."

James McCartan (Down manager):

"We needed to be further in front at half-time, there was a pretty influential breeze there. We were probably in the game with 20 minutes to go but then made a few mistakes and they hit us with sucker punches."

Match statistics

Wides: Donegal 10 (3 first half); Down 10 (5)

Frees: Donegal 13 (7); Down 21 (17)

Yellow cards: Donegal 3 (N McGee 8, M Murphy 14, R Kavanagh 34); Down 4 (C Laverty 14, B McArdle 15, B Coulter 18, K King 26)

Red cards: 0

Attendance: 34,696

What next?

Donegal go through to the All-Ireland quarter-finals; Down play Tipperary next weekend in the final round of the qualifiers.

Irish Independent

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