Friday 23 February 2018

Foley pounces late for share of spoils

Donegal 0-8
Kildare 1-5

A last-minute goal from full-back Michael Foley sent Kildare home from Letterkenny with an unlikely share of the spoils.

In a scrappy affair, Donegal had opened up a four-point gap with two minutes of normal time left -- but they then let their guard down as Kildare pointed through Eamonn Callaghan and then a late lofted free from Johnny Doyle was not dealt with by Donegal and Foley pounced.

It will be a game that will not live long in the memory for spectators. Donegal made two changes from the team that beat Tyrone, with Kevin Cassidy back, while Ronan Sweeney and Andrew McLaughlin returned for Kildare.

There was little between the sides in the first half, as both sides made defence a priority, and scores were few and far between.

Keith Cribbin and Eoghan O'Flaherty had Kildare two points ahead after 10 minutes after Donegal were denied a penalty claim when Michael Murphy seemed to be impeded.

Referee Michael Duffy was the centre of attraction -- blowing for 36 frees and also flashing six yellow cards. Donegal got their first point on 17 minutes with Colm McFadden pointing a free.

Kildare were denied a goal with a point-blank save by Paul Durcan from Fionn Dowling on 23 minutes and, in the final minutes of the half, the influential Rory Kavanagh and Murphy drew Donegal level at 0-3 each.

Donegal hit six wides in the opening 10 minutes of the second half as Dowling edged Kildare in front, but they failed to score from the 42nd minute until the final two scores. Jim McGuinness' team finally got their act together midway through the half, with Murphy hitting three points and it seemed as if they had done enough.

"There is a harsh lesson to be learned. We probably learned more from the way it finished than if we had won," said the Donegal manager.

Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney wasn't celebrating either but he was happy to have got away with a share of the spoils. "It was tough going out there and the pitch was very dead," McGeeney said. "But we were lucky to get a point. The defences were on top throughout and our midfield and forward line found the going difficult."

Man of the Match: Rory Kavanagh (Donegal)

Scorers -- Donegal: M Murphy 0-4 (4f), C McFadden 0-2 (2f), R Kavanagh, M Hegarty 0-1 each. Kildare: M Foley 1-0, F Dowling 0-2 (2f), E O'Flaherty, K Cribbin, E Callaghan 0-1 each.

Donegal -- P Durcan 7; P McGrath 6, N McGee 7, K Lacey 7; A Thompson 7, L McLoone 7, K Cassidy 7; C Classon 6, M McElhinney 7; D McLaughlin 6, M McHugh 8, R Bradley 7; D Molloy 5, M Murphy 8, C McFadden 6. Subs: F McGlynn 6 for McGrath (23), R Kavanagh 8 for McLaughlin (20), M Hegarty 7 for Classon (h-t); A Hanlon 6 for Molloy (56), M Boyle 5 for Bradley (66).

Kildare -- S McCormack 6; H McGrillen 6, M Foley 8, A McLoughlin 7; D Whyte 7, B Flanagan 7, E Bolton 6; H Lynch 6, P O'Neill 7; R Sweeney 6, J Doyle 7, E O'Flaherty 7; F Dowling 7, A Smith 5, K Cribbin 6. Subs: R Kelly 5 for Lynch (20), J Kavanagh 6 for Smith (h-t), E Callaghan 6 for Dowling (42), G White 5 for Bolton (57), J Moolick 5 for Kelly (63).

Ref -- M Duffy (Sligo)

Irish Independent

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