Michael Murphy earns draw for Donegal
Last-kick free pegs back Meath in Division Two game at Ballybofey
Bryan Menton of Meath (right) comes across to challenge Rory Kavanagh of Donegal during the Allianz Football League Division Two match at MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey, Co Donegal. Photograph: Donna McBride/Inpho/Presseye
DONEGAL 1-12 MEATH 1-12
Donegal got out of jail in MacCumhaill Park as Michael Murphy landed the equaliser with the last kick of the game.
Trailing by a point with time up, Donegal were awarded a free in some 25 metres from goal and close to the sideline. Up stepped Murphy to hit an equaliser they scarcely deserved
Meath dominated most of the opening half and even though they were headed when Colm McFadden won and pointed a free with 18 minutes left, they twice went back in front and it seemed when half-time substitute Graham Reilly edged them in front 1-12 to 1-11 with four minutes left, that they were going to take both league points.
But then, not for the first time, Murphy, became Donegal’s saviour.
In fairness Donegal did have the better of the chances in the second half, creating two goal chances – Murphy denied by a goal-line clearance and McFadden by a timely block.
They also hit the upright on two occasions in the second half.
Donegal also had Ryan McHugh black-carded in the 13th minute of the second half, being replaced by Karl Lacey.
At the start it took Donegal a long time to settle with Meath completely dominating affairs in the opening quarter.
Murphy had given them the first score from a free but by the 19th minute Meath were 0-6 to 0-1 ahead, with midfielder Andrew Tormey and corner forward Michael Newman converting two-long range frees, one from outside the 45-metre line almost on the sideline.
It looked as if Donegal were back in the contest when Frank McGlynn lobbed Patrick O’Rourke in the 27th minute but almost immediately Meath swept forward and Newman was on the end of the move to fire low past Paul Durcan.
Before half-time Christy Toye and Murphy added points to leave Donegal two points adrift at the break, 1-7 to 1-5.
For Meath manager Mick O’Dowd, there were plenty of positives:
“It was a bit disappointing but it’s a sign of the performance that we put in that we are disappointed.
“I’m so proud of the players – they really put in a massive effort,” he said.
DONEGAL : P Durcan; E McGee, N McGee, F McGlynn (1-0); R McHugh, L McLoone, A Thompson; R Kavanagh, M McElhinney; M McHugh, C Toye (0-2), O MacNiallais; C McFadden (0-3,two frees), M Murphy (0-6, frees), D Molloy (0-1). Subs: N Gallagher for Kavanagh, D O’Connor for Molloy (both 43); K Lacey for R McHugh, black card 48); D Walsh for MacNiallais (56)
MEATH : P O’Rourke; D Keogan, K Reilly, M Burke; S Curran, B Menton, E Harrington; A Tormey (0-2) , S O’Rourke (0-1, free) ; D Tobin, D Carroll (0-1), B McMahon (0-1); D McDonagh (0-1), S Bray, M Newman (1-4, 0-3 frees). Subs., G Reilly (0-1) for Bray; P Harnan for Tobin ( both ht); S Kenny for Curran, E Wallace (0-1) for McMahon (both 51); M O’Sullivan for Tormey (62); D Bray for Menton (68)
Referee : P Hughes (Armagh)