Henderson steers Donegal home
Donegal 4-12 Roscommon 2-14, (Allianz NHL Div 3A Final)
Two late points from half-back Lee Henderson ensured Donegal held off a dramatic surge from Roscommon to deservedly claim the silverware at Markievicz Park in Sligo.
Enda McDermott's second-half goal for Donegal proved crucial as Roscommon stormed back into the contest in the final 20 minutes, having conceded three first-half goals and seen midfielder John Moran sent off on a straight red card before the interval.
Having won the previous encounter in the league phase, Roscommon came into the decider as slight favourites but were without the suspended Gerry Fallon, their top scorer. Robbie Fallon took over free-taking duties and converted three in the first half but, after a bright start for Roscommon, Donegal dominated proceedings and were 0-5 to 0-2 ahead after 16 minutes.
Two minutes later, Paddy Hannighan buried the sliotar to the net for Donegal as they took full advantage of the strong wind at their backs.
A brace of goals within 60 seconds followed as both Hannighan and Henderson raised green flags in the 26th minute to tighten Donegal's grip on the contest.
They appeared to be in the box seat when Moran saw red, but, to Roscommon's credit, they hit back gamely after McDermott's 46th-minute goal. Six consecutive points reduced the deficit to nine before Cillian Egan fired to the net.
When Micheal Kelly then drilled a 20-metre free low to the net with four minutes left, one of the great comebacks appeared likely, but Henderson's coolness in the final stages meant Donegal emerged victorious.
SCORERS – Donegal: L Henderson 1-8 (4fs, 1 '65'), P Hannigan 2-0, E McDermott 1-1, C Mathewson 0-2, S McVeigh 0-1. Roscommon: R Fallon 0-9 (8fs); C Egan, M Kelly 1-0 each, G Fallon, D Dolan, T Seale, I Delaney, C Dolan 0-1 each.
DONEGAL – P Burns 7; M McGrath 7, J McGee 7, C McDermott 6; J Donnelly 7, J Boyle 8, P Sheridan 7; R McDermott 6, D Cullen 7; L Henderson 8, E McDermott 7, S McVeigh 7; K Campbell 7, P Hannigan 7, C Mathewson 7. Subs: E Organ 6 for McVeigh (49).
ROSCOMMON – P Dolan 7; I Delaney 7, R O'Meara 7, S Curley 7; S Melia 7, M Kelly 7, C Dolan 7; T Seale 7, J Moran 4; R Fallon 7, D Fallon 6, G Fallon 7; C Egan 6, B Kelly 6, A Murphy 6. Subs: D Dolan for Melia (22), C Kelly for Murphy (45), H Rooney for B Kelly (47).
REF – G McGrath (Dublin)