Wednesday 18 July 2018

Donegal find second wind to crush Galway

Donegal 3-12 Galway0-11

Colm McFadden, Donegal, steals the ball away from Thomas Flynn, Galway
Colm McFadden, Donegal, steals the ball away from Thomas Flynn, Galway
Martin McElhiney, Donegal, in action against Damien Comer, Galway
Paul Conroy, Galway, is tackled by Ryan McHugh, Donegal
Donegal’s Michael Murphy contests a high ball with Galway’s Johnny Duane in the Ulster side’s qualifer Round 4B victory at Croke Park.
Donegal’s Ryan McHugh celebrates scoring his side’s second goal past Galway’s Brian O’Donoghue. The beaten Ulster finalists will now play Mayo in the quarter-finals while Tyrone will face Monaghan.

Daragh Small at Croke Park

Donegal went almost half an hour without scoring but they still had enough in the tank to ease their way into the All-Ireland quarter-finals at Croke Park.

Donegal did not score in the second quarter but they pulled away in the second half and set up a quarter-final date with Mayo next weekend.

Galway did well to recover from a poor start but they could not stay with Donegal after the restart once Rory Gallagher worked a few keys changes.

Galway managed just four points in the second half as Donegal outscored them by 2-8 to 0-4, belying the mileage already on the clock by most of Gallagher's men.

The sides went in level at 1-4 to 0-7 at the end of an opening half where both teams packed out their defence, but the contest was still very entertaining.

Danny Cummins gave Galway the lead inside the opening minute but a huge Odhran Mac Niallais effort tied the game up. Donegal hit the next two scores, and they were crucial as the Ulster side pulled four points clear.

Colm McFadden kicked a fine point from the left and then set up Paddy McBrearty, who showed great composure step back and blast the ball into the top left corner from close range. That put Donegal 1-2 to 0-1 in front and there was a danger Galway might wilt, but Kevin Walsh's men responded well to the challenge.

The Tribesmen hit back with a point from Gary Sice and fantastic effort from Tom Flynn. But again McFadden and McBrearty did the damage as Donegal restored their four-point lead after 16 minutes.

Remarkably, though, Donegal weren't to score for the remainder of the half as Galway took over and clawed back the deficit. Captain Paul Conroy won a massive amount of possession for Galway from the kickouts and they kicked four points in a row.

Sice slotted his second free in the 24th minute after Damien Comer's persistence. Then Adrian Varley kicked a fine point as Galway's good passing game paid a big dividend, with Sice cutting the gap to a point with his third free. The sides were level at the break when Conroy kicked a fine point.

But Donegal took over after the restart, with the introduction of Martin McElhinney making a huge impact around the middle of the field, while the switch of Michael Murphy to full-forward was also crucial. McFadden continued to be huge figure, while Mac Niallais crowned a superb display with three excellent trademark points.

Galway's Tom Flynn was unable to continue his superb display around the middle of the field in the second half and Donegal never looked back once they got on top in that sector. They continued to shoot bad wides, with Murphy, McBrearty and McElhinney missing the target in the opening five minutes of the second period. But it was clear that they had got on top, and while Varley edged Galway in front with a point on 42 minutes when there was a chance of a goal, Donegal took over from there.

Murphy pointed a free for their first score in 28 minutes after 44 minutes and a superb effort from Mac Niallais put them into a lead they never lost. Murphy out-fielded Finian Hanley to kick an excellent score as Donegal started to turn the screw.

Sice cut the gap with a free but Galway were unable to find a way through an excellent Donegal rearguard.

McFadden and Mac Niallais added points to make it 1-9 to 0-9 and the game ended as a contest ten minutes from time when an excellent move involving McFadden, Mac Niallais and Murphy sent Ryan McHugh clear on goal, and he finished clinically to the net.

Damien Comer and Leo McLoone swapped points and Shane Walsh and Murphy did likewise, but Donegal finished in style when Christy Toye got their third goal in the closing minutes. They march into the quarter-finals with a pep in their step after a fine display in the second half as Galway's interest in the All-Ireland petered out.

Scorers - Donegal: P McBrearty 1-1, C McFadden 0-4 (1f), R McHugh, C Toye 1-0 each, O Mac Niallais, M Murphy (2f) 0-3 each, L McLoone 0-1. Galway: G Sice 0-4 (4f), A Varley 0-2, P Conroy, D Cummins, T Flynn, D Comer (f), S Walsh 0-1 each.

Donegal: P Durcan; N McGee, E McGee, P McGrath; R McHugh, F McGlynn, E Doherty; N Gallagher, M Murphy; M McHugh, O Mac Niallais, H McFadden; P McBrearty, M O'Reilly, C McFadden.

Subs: A Thompson for E McGee (35), M McElhinney for O'Reilly (35), D Walsh for McGrath (51), L McLoone for McBrearty (54), C Toye for H McFadden (68).

Galway: B O'Donoghue; J Duane, F Hanley, C Sweeney; G Bradshaw, G O'Donnell, L Silke; F Ó Curraoin, T Flynn; G Sice, P Conroy, M Lundy; D Cummins, A Varley, D Comer. Subs: S Walsh for Varley (57), P Sweeney for Conroy (57), P Og O Griofa for Cummins (63), S Denvir for Lundy (67).

Referee: E Kinsella (Laois).

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