Donegal warm to their task
Donegal 0-12 Down 0-7:A very decent crowd of around 6,000 witnessed Donegal’s first home game in the 2013 league as a good second half display accounted for Down.
The game saw the debut of 18-year-old Ryan McHugh for the county as he joined his brother, Mark, in the half-back line.
Donegal had the goal chances in the first half but they were denied on a couple of occasions, most notably when Michael Murphy put Ross Wherity through and on another occasion when Eamon McGee started a move which finished with his brother, Neil, being denied by Michael Cunningham in the Down goal.
The first four points were shared with Michael Murphy and Ross Wherity pointing for Donegal while Donal O’Hare hit two frees for Down.
The Mourne men then went three clear with further pointed frees from O’Hare and Kevin McKernan while O’Hare had Down’s only point from play to put them 0-5 to 0-2 clear.
But late in the half frees from Colm McFadden and Michael Murphy left just a point between the sides at the interval.
Donegal had a great start to the second half with four unanswered points inside 13 minutes with Michael Murphy again impressing and Ryan McHugh coming really into the game.
Down had a big call for a penalty as Donal O’Hare broke clear on 51 minutes with Neil McGee clearing off the line.
Murphy fisted Donegal’s tenth point and Declan Walsh put six between the sides with 13 minutes left as Down found it difficult to make any impression. Thirty minutes had elapsed in the half before Donal O’Hare had Down’s first point of the half.
Donegal and Tyrone will have a championship dress rehearsal when the league resumes but Donegal manager Jim McGuinness says the approach will remain the same.
“It’s the same thing. We want to look at players; we want to try things out; we want to win the match, so there’s no difference at all.”
He was happy with result but more so with the display of newcomers Ryan McHugh and Ross Wherity.
“The big bonus from tonight was Ryan McHugh, a minor last year, coming into the team. I thought the longer the game went on the more he settled into the game. He could have got a score and was involved in a lot in the second half, which is a real good positive for him on a personal level.
“Ross Wherity, as well. The longer the game went on the more he came into it. . . you want to use the league as a vehicle to try an unearth a player of two and also to look at different things in terms of how you play the game.
“We did both of those things tonight and it was pleasing and to get the points on top of that,” he added.
DONEGAL: P Durcan; D Walsh (0-1), E McGee, N McGee; R McHugh, A Thompson, M McHugh; R Kavanagh (0-1), M McElhinney; R Wherity (0-1), L McLoone (0-1), R Bradley; P McBrearty, M Murphy (0-6, four frees), C McFadden (0-1f). Subs: N Gallagher for McElhinney (ht); D Molloy for McBrearty (55 mins); D McLaughlin (0-1) for McFadden (63); O Mac Niallais for N McGee (70).
DOWN: M Cunningham; D Turley, D McCartan, R Boyle; R Mallon, A Carr, B McArdle; K King, K McKernan (0-2, 1f); K Quinn, M Poland, P McComiskey; C Laverty, C Harrison, D O’Hare (0-5, four frees). Subs: P Turley for B McArdle ht; B Coulter for Harrison (47 mins); D Rooney for Mallon (48 mins); D Savage for D Turley (56 mins); C Gough for King (58).
REFEREE: Marty Duffy (Sligo).