Donegal win the Nicky Rackard Cup for the first time since 2013
Donegal 2-19 Warwickshire 0-18
Donegal won the Nicky Rackard Cup for the first time since 2013 thanks to a commanding second-half performance in Croke Park.
Warwickshire opened up a gap early on thanks to free-taker Niall McKenna as well as scores from Paul Hoban and Shane Caulfield. However, a strong spell for Donegal resulted in four points in five minutes from a combination of Gerry Gilmore and Declan Coulter, pulling Warwickshire back into their sights.
A further brace of placed balls from McKenna ensured that there would be more than one puck of the ball between the teams but it should have been much better for a wasteful Warwickshire.
While Donegal’s footballers have often been famed for their relentless defence, it was the attacking prowess of their hurlers that stole the show after the restart.
Gavin Browne scored the first of their two goals with an exceptional strike from 25 yards after Philip Crean had denied Bernard Lafferty.
That was the beginning of a spell where Donegal notched up 2-4 while conceding just a single point. The second goal came from Coulter who left all in his wake before smashing the sliotar past Crean.
Warwickshire’s attempts to pull back the deficit were all in vain as Donegal held firm despite a couple of late scares.
Scorers — Donegal: D Coulter 1-10 (0-4f, 0-1 ’65’); G Gilmore (2s/l) 0-4; G Browne 1-0; B Lafferty, D Flynn 0-2 each; C Mathewson 0-1. Warwickshire: N McKenna 0-12 (8f); S Caulfield 0-2; P Hoban, C Robbins, D Nugent, N Kennedy 0-1 each.
Donegal: P Burns; P Doherty, C McDermott, S Gillespie; J Donnelly, S McVeigh, G Browne; C Mathewson, D Cullen; C Finn, D Coulter, R McDermott; B Lafferty, G Gilmore, D Flynn. Subs: N Cleary for Donnelly (h-t), E McDermott for R McDermott (57), K Campbell for Finn (58), L Henderson for Flynn (65).
Warwickshire: P Crean; W Allen, D Bruen, M O’Regan; P Scally, P Hoban, D Kennedy; J Collins, S Caulfield; C Robbins, N Kennedy, N McKenna; D Nugent, P Uniacke, G Lennon. Subs: K Magee for Collins (43), R Curley for O’Regan (58), I Dwyer for N Kennedy (62), K Boxwell for Robbins (65), K Phelan for Allen (72).
Referee: G McGrath (Wexford)