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Donegal get the Rory Gallagher era off to a winning start against Derry

Michael Murphy hit the crossbar with a penalty in the second half.

Image: Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

Donegal 1-15

Derry 0-12

A SECOND-HALF goal from Odhran MacNiallais helped Donegal to a winning start in the first competitive game of the Rory Gallagher era.

The Ulster champions came from behind to beat Derry by six points in the National Football League Division 1 opener in Ballybofey, 1-15 to 0-12.

Michael Murphy hit the crossbar with a penalty in the second half, and Paddy McBrearty was named man of the match, as Donegal collected the first two points of the campaign.

In front of a crowd of 4,550, the teams traded scores in the opening quarter before a string of points from Derry captain Mark Lynch helped Brian McIver’s side into a 0-9 to 0-6 lead at the break.

But Donegal resumed with three unanswered scores to draw level and then took the lead for the first time since the 10th minute when Murphy pointed to make it 0-10 to 0-9.

Rory Gallagher Gallagher presided over a Donegal win in his first league game as manager. Source: Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

The sides were level at 0-11 apiece when referee Marty Duffy deemed Niall Holly to have fouled Murphy. His penalty rattled Thomas Mallon’s crossbar but Derry’s respite was short-lived and a little over a minute later, MacNiallais popped up to score the game’s only goal.

A McBrearty point was cancelled out by Eoin Bradley to leave three between the sides with 12 minutes to play but that was to be Derry’s final score as Christy Toye and Murphy (2) secured the points for Donegal.

Scorers for Donegal: M Murphy (5f), P McBrearty (2f) 0-5 each; O MacNiallais 1-0; C Toye, M O’Reilly 0-2 each; M McElhinney 0-1.

Scorers for Derry: M Lynch 0-6 (5f); E McGuckin, B Heron, C McAtamney, B McGoldrick, E Lynn, E Bradley 0-1 each.


1. Paul Durcan

2. Paddy McGrath
3. Eamonn McGee
4. Frank McGlynn

5. Ryan McHugh
6. Karl Lacey
7. Ciarán McGinley

8. Neil Gallagher
9. Christy Toye

10. Mark McHugh
22. Hugh McFadden
12. Odhrán Mac Niallais

13. Patrick McBrearty
14. Michael Murphy
15. Martin O’Reilly


1. Thomas Mallon

2. Oisin Duffy
3. Niall Holly
4. John O’Kane

5. Kevin Johnston
6. Gerard O’Kane
7. Mark Craig

8. Mark Lynch
9. Conor McAtamney

10. Benny Heron
11. Daniel Heavron
12. Enda Lynn

13. Sean Leo McGoldrick
14. Emmett McGuckin
15. Barry McGoldrick

– First published 31 January 21.35

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