Michael Murphy the star man as Donegal overcome Roscommon for first Super 8s win
Roscommon 0-13 Donegal 0-20
Ulster champions Donegal recovered from last week’s defeat to Dublin to take a big step towards the All-Ireland semi-final as Michael Murphy fired them to an impressive victory over Roscommon at Dr Hyde Park.
Nine points from the Donegal captain was key to this victory, while Odhrán Mac Niallais kicked four from play in an impressive team showing.
Roscommon manager Kevin McStay was asked to leave the sideline during the half-time interval following an incident with an official, but his side fell away in the second half in the face of Murphy’s brilliance.
Boosted by the return of David Murray to the starting team following a successful appeal of the red card he earned against Tyrone last week, Roscommon got off to a great start when Ciaráin Murtagh kicked a great point in the third minute from distance.
Two minutes later a long, diagonal ball from Conor Devaney found Diarmuid Murtagh in space behind the Donegal full-back line, but by the time he turned back towards goal the chance was gone and he blazed over for a point to double their advantage.
Donegal took their time in finding their feet in this clash and wides from Ciarán Thompson and Jamie Brennan marred their first two attacks, but Jamie Brennan got them off the mark in the sixth minute with a point from the left.
Brian Stack pushed Roscommon ahead with a good point, but they needed a stunning save from Colm Lavin to deny Jamie Brennan moments later – although Murphy added the 45 the followed the save to level matters.
Murphy started at midfield for Donegal and spent most of the opening half around that zone, but he also appeared at the edge of the square on an intermittent basis. Wherever he went Niall McInerney followed, but the Roscommon full back was unable to stem the flow of scores as Donegal kicked seven unanswered scores.
Four of those came from Murphy – the last two as he slotted into the full-forward role – while Thompson and Odhrán Mac Niallais also found their range, while Michael Langan got on the end of a great counter attack to give his side a 0-10 to 0-5 half-time lead.
There was some action after the half-time whistle when Roscommon manager Kevin McStay appeared to hit one of the officials in the head with the ball, and after a visit to the referees’ dressing room at the interval, McStay didn’t appear on the sideline for the second half.
But his team started well and matched Donegal point for point, with Stack, Ciaráin Murtagh and Enda Smith on target, although Odhran Mac Niallais ensured Donegal maintained their half-time advantage with a point off either foot.
Back into the full-forward line, Murphy popped up with a score on the turn after 44 minutes, and he brought his personal tally to eight minutes later with a brilliant team score.
As Roscommon chased the game, Stack was denied a goal by a fine Patton save, but Donegal came even closer to the first goal when Mac Niallais rattled the post. Three scores in a row saw Roscommon close to within five points with ten minutes remaining, but Murphy’s free clinched it for Donegal.
Scorers for Donegal: M Murphy 0-9 (3f, 1’45), O Mac Niallais 0-4, C Thompson 0-2 (1f), R McHugh 0-1, J Brennan 0-1, M Langan 0-1, L McLoone 0-1, M Reily 0-1.
Scorers for Roscommon: C Murtaigh 0-5 (3f), D Murtaigh 0-2, B Stack 0-2, D Smith 0-2, C Compton 0-1, E Smith 0-1.
DONEGAL: S Patton; P McGrath, P Brennan, S McMenamin; E Doherty, F McGlynn, E Ban Gallagher; H McFadden, M Murphy; C Thompson, M Langan, L McLoone; O Mac Niallais, J Brennan, R McHugh.
Subs: N McGee for Gallagher (18), N O’Donnell for Brennan (53), A Thompson for McGlynn (54), D O’Baoill for P Brennan (62), M McHugh for C Thompson (62), M Reilly for Langan (66).
ROSCOMMON: C Lavin; D Murray, N McInerney, J McManus; F Cregg, S McDermott, C Devaney (c); T O’Rourke, C Compton; C Murtagh, N Kilroy, E Smith; D Murtagh, B Stack, C Cregg.
Subs: C Lennon for Compton (h-t), D Smith for C Cregg (45), F Cregg for McDermott (48), P Kelly for Stack (58), I Kilbride for F Cregg (61), S Killoran for Kilroy (67).
Referee: Ciaran Branagan (Down)