Higgins return lifts impressive Mayo
Mayo 1-14 Donegal 0-13
The return of star dual player Keith Higgins to hurling duty was a major boost for Mayo who picked up both points in their opening round clash with Donegal at MacHale Park, Castlebar.
Mayo, who featured a number of debutants, led 0-10 to 0-3 at half-time with Kenny Feeney and Higgins scoring three points apiece in that opening half.
Kevin Campbell nailed two frees for Donegal who didn't get off the mark until the 23rd minute.
Despite being reduced to 14 players after Christopher McDermott was dismissed on a second yellow card, Donegal took the game to Mayo after the break.
However, Higgins set up Feeney for a cracking goal and Feeney then followed up with a point to put Mayo eight points ahead (1-11 to 0-6) with 15 minutes remaining.
Ciaran Matthewson and Kevin Campbell hit back with some good points as the visitors rallied but Mayo never really looked like losing their grip on the points.
Scorers - Mayo: K Feeney 1-5 (4fs), K Higgins 0-4 (1f), C Freeman 0-2, J McManus, S Regan and E Collins 0-1 each. Donegal: C Matthewson (0-5, 3fs ,1 65'), K Campbell (0-4 fs), L Henderson, J O'Loughlin, J Boyle and B Lafferty (0-1)
Mayo - D O'Brien (8), S Morley (7), P Connell (7), A Brennan (6), A Lyons (7), G McManus (8), K Kiely (7), E Collins (8), C Charlton (7), C Freeman (7), K Higgins (8), G Nolan (6), K Feeney (9), S Regan (6), J McManus (7).. Subs: C Scahill (7) for K Kiely (ht), D McTighe (6) for C Charlton (50), N Casey (5) for A Lyons (55), S Boland (5) for S Regan (60), D Harrison (5) for K Higgins (70)
Donegal - P Burns (7), M McGrath (6), D Grant (7), P Doherty (6), J O'Loughlin (7), J Boyle (6), C McDermott (8), S Gillespie (7), P Sheridan (6), L Henderson (7), S McVeigh (5), P Nelson (6), C Matthewson (8), R McDermott (7), K Campbell (8). Subs: B Lafferty (6) for L Henderson (55), S Doherty (5) for P Sheridan (60), S Gallen (5) for M McGrath (63), P Hannigan (5) for K Campbell (63)
Ref - J Murphy (Limerick).