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Senior footballers stay on winning streak

Senior footballers stay on winning streak

Sun, 11th February 2018


It's three wins from three starts as Dublin had to show all their big game experience to edge out Donegal and maintain their 100pc start to his year's National Football League 1 campaign.

Dublin led 0-11 to 0-5 at half-time after an impressive first half showing and despite extending that advantage they had to hold off a rampant Donegal fightback as the Ulster men twice got to within a point.

It was Dublin, however, who had the final word as they sparked back to life late on to close out the game by kicking the last four points to secure victory with Paul Mannion and three subs - Eoghan O'Gara, Ciarán Reddin and Paddy Small, off his less favoured right foot, all on target.

Donegal carried the fight to Dublin early on to lead 0-2 to 0-1 with their pace and impressive support running an early portent of what was the follow in the second period.

The Jim Gavin's men began to work their way into the contest, which was attended by a crowd of 21,469, with the dynamic Niall Scully kick-starting a run of five unanswered points.

Dublin also had a goal-scoring chance but Colm Basquel's effort cleared the crossbar as the young Ballyboden St Enda's man continues to impress in the early games of his senior career.

Donegal too had a goal opportunity but Jamie Brennan's effort cannoned off of an upright at the Hill 16 end as Dublin took a six-point lead into the break.

Immediately on the restart Brian Fenton strode through the middle of the Donegal defence before clipping a point to push his side seven clear.

But then came the Donegal comeback with the McBrearty brothers, Paddy and Stephen, central to their improvement.

Paddy shot six second half point, four from play, as the Kilcar man led Dublin a merry dance in the second half and soon Donegal were only the minimum in arrears.

But two Colm Basquel points, one a free, steadied the Dubs.

Donegal came with a second surge and at one stage had Dublin pinned into their own half for a long period and but for some superb defending by Jonny Cooper in particular Dublin were in even greater trouble.

However, not for the first time Dublin's subs rose to the occasion with match-winning contributions from O'Gara, Reddin and Paddy Small, younger brother of defender John.

SCORERS - Dublin: N Scully, C Basquel (0-1f) 0-4 each, B Fenton, C Kilkenny, P Mannion (0-1f) 0-2 each, P Andrews, E Lowndes, B Howard, E O'Gara, C Reddin, P Small 0-1 each. Donegal: P McBrearty 0-7 (0-3f), R McHugh, J Brennan, S McBrearty 0-2 each, L McLoone, M McHugh 0-1 each.

DUBLIN: S Cluxton; E Lowndes, P McMahon, D Byrne; J McCarthy, J Cooper, J Small; B Fenton, MD Macauley; N Scully, C Kilkenny, B Howard; P Mannion, P Andrews, C Basquel. Subs: E O'Gara for Andrews (46), C O'Sullivan for McMahon (46), D Rock for Macauley (65), C Reddin for Scully (72), P Small for Basquel (73).

DONEGAL: P Boyle; E Doherty, C Ward, E Gallagher; T McClenaghan, L McLoone, R McHugh; N Mullins, H McFadden; MMcHugh, S McBrearty, C Thompson; P McBrearty, O Mac Niallais, J Brennan. Subs: C McGonigle for Mullins (27), N O'Donnell for Thompson (43), M Murphy for Mac Niallais (55), C McGinley for M McHugh (65), M O'Reilly for S McBrearty (69), P Brennan for R McHugh (72).

REF: J McQuillan (Cavan).

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