Tuesday 16 January 2018

Murphy on the mark as Royals have no answers

Donegal 0-15
meath 0-9

High-Flying Donegal maintained their push for promotion with this emphatic win at Pairc Tailteann yesterday.

Jim McGuinness' side were in full control throughout and are now unbeaten from four outings.

However, they didn't need to be at their best in this one as the home side produced one of their worst displays in years.

Relegation to Division 3 now beckons for Seamus McEnaney's men and the sight of Meath supporters exiting long before the final whistle was a statement in itself.

Donegal played into the stiff breeze in the opening half and demonstrated enormous work-rate and accuracy: they deservedly led 0-7 to 0-4 at the break.

They then accounted for the opening three points of the second half and there was no way back for a Meath side bereft of ideas and unable to make an impact against a solid visitors defence.

Full-forward Michael Murphy produced a virtuoso display in the winners' attack and kicked six points, including four from play.

The Meath defence had no answer to Murphy's array of talents; some of his points were out of the top drawer.

The ability of the Donegal forwards to convert scores from long range was a feature of the match, and, as well as Murphy, Ryan Bradley and Colm McFadden all notched up excellent points.

Despite having wind advantage Meath only managed a single point from play in the opening half, from midfielder Brian Meade.


Their other scores of the half came courtesy of pointed frees from Brian Sheridan, who grabbed two, and Shane O'Rourke.

Corner-forward Bradley shot three points from play in the opening half; Dermot Molloy and midfielder Rory Kavanagh also made contributions to the scoring.

Murphy (two) and Rory Kavanagh increased the Donegal lead to 0-10 to 0-4 by the 41st minute.

Meath had to wait until the 65th minute for midfielder Nigel Crawford to score their first point of the half from play.

Donegal were well out of sight at that stage and had opened up a seven-point gap in the final quarter.

Meath did have a goal opportunity just before the end but Paddy Gilsenan was unlucky to see his effort hit the woodwork.

To compound a thoroughly miserable day for Banty's brigade the home side finished with 14 men after substitute Terry Skelly was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball challenge on David Walsh.

Man of the Match: M Murphy (Donegal)

SCORERS -- Donegal: M Murphy 0-6 (2f), R Bradley, C McFadden (1f) 0-3 each, R Kavanagh 0-2, D Molloy 0-1. Meath: B Sheridan (2f), S O'Rourke (1f) 0-2 each, B Meade, N Crawford, J Sheridan ('45'), B Farrell (f), T Skelly 0-1 each.

DONEGAL -- P Durkan 7; P McGrath 7, N McGee 7, K Lacey 7; A Thompson 7, F McGlynn 7, K Cassidy 7; R Kavanagh 8, M McElhinney 7; M Hegarty 6, M McHugh 6, D Molloy 7; R Bradley 8, M Murphy 9, C McFadden 7. Subs: D Walsh 6 for Hegarty (49), N Gallagher for McElhinney (69), A Hanlon for McFadden (69), S Griffin for McHugh (70).

MEATH -- B Murphy 7; C King 6, A Moyles 5, B Menton 6; G O'Brien 5, C McGuinness 6, A Nestor 6; B Meade 7, N Crawford 6; S McAnarney 5, J Sheridan 6, S Kenny 5; D Morgan 6, S O'Rourke 6, B Sheridan 6. Subs: T Skelly 5 for O'Brien (48), P Gilsenan 5 for Kenny (48), E Harrington 5 for Moyles (48), M Ward 5 for Menton (52), B Farrell 5 for B Sheridan (54).

REF -- M Higgins (Fermanagh).

Irish Independent

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