Michael Murphy orchestrates Donegal victory over Rossies

Donegal captain dominates middle third as Eoin McHugh’s late point snatches the win

Donegal 0-16 Roscommon 2-9

A point three minutes into injury-time from Eoin McHugh gave Donegal a crucial victory over Roscommon in an exciting Division One match played at a bitterly cold Hyde Park.

Just seconds before McHugh's winner it had seemed the home team would snatch victory when Ronan Stack was through on the Donegal goal but the wing-back went for a goal rather than a point and Mark Anthony McGinley spread himself to save well.

Rory Gallagher’s team then swept downfield and the ball was worked to McHugh who slotted the winning score between the posts from the right wing.


Much of the drama was packed into a frenetic finale. Donegal, guided by their talisman Michael Murphy who orchestrated most of his team's attacks, looked to have held off Roscommon's defiance when they opened up a three-point lead with seven minutes remaining.

However, in the 65th minute Conor Devaney propelled the Rossies back into contention with a stunning goal. Both teams went hunting for the winner and, in the end, the experience and craft of Murphy, Ryan McHugh and Frank McGlynn proved decisive.

Playing into the wind Donegal had the opening scores from Murphy and Ciaran Thompson. Thompson, an Under-21 last year, finished the match with 0-3, as did fellow half-forwards Martin O’Reilly and McHugh.

Roscommon gradually settled. Fintan Cregg and Paddy McBrearty exchanged points before Kevin McStay’s team drew level by the 15th minute with points from Ciaráin Murtagh and Enda Smith.

Thompson and Smith swapped points before Smith pounced on a misplaced kick-out. Smith’s shot deflected off both Ryan McHugh and the post before being forced over the line by Murtagh.

Carroll responded with a point and, after an exchange of scores between Higgins and McHugh, Murtagh restored Roscommon’s three-point lead by the 20th minute. A booming long-range effort by Higgins stretched the gap to four before Murphy responded from a free on the stroke of half-time.

Murtagh curled over a good score two minutes into the second-half. By the 46th minute the visitors were level due to points from Thompson, Eoghan Bán Gallagher, McBrearty (who went off injured soon afterwards) and Brennan.

Murtagh got a badly-needed point for the Rossies only for Devaney’s stinging low effort for a goal to whistle outside the right post.

O’Reilly stormed into the match in the closing quarter. He kicked the equaliser in the 52nd minute and, following a well-taken score by McHugh, O’Reilly followed up with further points in the 59th and 63rd minutes. Before the fireworks arrived in the final five minutes.

DONEGAL: M A McGinley; C Ward, N McGee, P McGrath; R McHugh, E Bán Gallagher (0-1), P Brennan; J McGee, M Carroll (0-1); C Thompson (0-3), M O'Reilly (0-3), E McHugh (0-3); P McBrearty (0-2, 1f), M Murphy (0-2, 2f), J Brennan (0-1). Subs: M McHugh for Brennan (17 mins), F McGlynn for M McHugh (h-t), D O'Connor for McBrearty (50 mins), C Gibbons for Brennan (64 mins), E Doherty for McGee (69 mins), H McFadden for O'Connor (bc) 73 mins.

ROSCOMMON: C Lavin; S McDermott, T Featherston, N McInerney; R Stack, S Mullooly, J McManus; K Higgins (0-2), T O'Rourke; S Killoran, C Murtagh (1-4, 0-2f), E Smith (0-2); D Smith, F Cregg (0-1), C Devaney (1-0). SUBS: T Corcoran for Higgins 48 mins, N Kilroy for Cregg 50 mins, C Connolly for D Smith 58 mins, G Patterson for Murtagh 65 mins.

Referee: D O’Mahoney (Tipperary).