Donegal hold firm against Down
Down provide stern challenge but unable to get themselves into winning position against All-Ireland champions
Donegal’s Ryan Bradley takes a tumble after being challenged by Calum King. Photograph. Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Donegal 0-12 Down 0-9: So the All-Ireland football champions slowly march on, Donegal eventually holding off the brave Down resistance, although not exactly adding another layer to their own invincibility in the process.
With that comes to chance to win a third Ulster title in succession, with either Monaghan or Cavan to come in next month’s final, although this was far from an easy ride for Jim McGuinness’ team.
Instead they endured a tense and nervous second half, doggedly holding off the repeated onslaught of Down, with, crucially, a couple of big scores from open play by Colm McFadden, ensuring they kept themselves in front until the end.
Still a two-point game with four minutes to go, Down just couldn’t quite get themselves in a winning position, one last big free from captain Michael Murphy proving just how hard Donegal intend on holding on their Ulster and All-Ireland titles.
The first half - the proverbial war of attrition - saw Donegal ease into a four-point lead after just 15 minutes. Then Down found their feet - and their hand-passing game, and closed it back to a two-point game, 0-6 to 0-4, at half time.
So, in front of an engrossed crowd of 21,715, the second half played out with great intensity, but ultimately the All-Ireland champions held firm.