It was all too easy for Donegal as they swept aside the fitful challenge of Fingal in a surprisingly lopsided relegation/promotion decider at Kingspan Breffni Park.
The Ulster men won despite having to play the entire second half with just 14 men after half-back Jamesie Donnelly got a straight red card on the stroke of half-time. Double goalscorer Paddy Hannigan struck gold for the first time in the 17th minute which catapulted Donegal into a 1-4 to 0-3 lead.
Fingal were the better side in the opening quarter and led by the odd point in five after 13 minutes. The loss of Donnelly threatened to unhinge Donegal's plans but Fingal were floored when Hannigan fired home again on 51 minutes. John Matthew Sheridan's 54th-minute free proved to be Fingal's final score as Donegal won pulling up.
Scorers – Donegal: K Campbell 0-7 (5fs, 1 '65'); P Hannigan 2-1, C Mathewson 0-4, S McVeigh 0-2, D Cullen, R McDermott 0-1 each. Fingal: JM Sheridan 0-5 (3fs, 1 '65'), C O'Flynn 0-3.
Donegal – P Burns 8; M McGrath 7, J McGhee 7, S Gallen 7; J Donnelly 6, J Boyle 7, P Sheridan 7; R McDermott 8, D Cullen 8; L Henderson 8, E McDermott 7, S McVeigh 8; K Campbell 8, P Hannigan 9, C Mathewson 8. Subs: M McGee 7 for L Henderson (62); C Kilgannon 7 for E McDermott (64); J Browne for P Sheridan (69).
Fingal – C Harford 7; P Coyne 6, G Morris 7, P Quinn 6; K McLoughney 6, E O'Flaherty 6, N Ring 7; R McGarry 6, A Richardson 7; D Smyth 6, D Butterly 6, P McAllister 7; C Foley 7, JM Sheridan 7, C O'Flynn 8. Subs: M O'Donoghue 6 for K McLoughney (27); P Daly 7 for D Smyth (h-t); D Renehan 6 for E O'Flaherty (h-t); I Furlong 6 for D Butterly (49); N Feeney 6 for M O'Donoghue (64).
Ref – L McAuley (Antrim)