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Last-gasp Galway snatch victory in Donegal to make it two from two

Sean Armstrong was the match-winner for Kevin Walsh’s men.

Donegal's Caolan McGonagle and Galway's Shane Walsh.
Donegal's Caolan McGonagle and Galway's Shane Walsh.
Image: Evan Logan/INPHO

Donegal 0-14

Galway 1-12

Alan Foley reports from Letterkenny

A POINT ONE minute from the end by substitute Sean Armstrong meant Galway pipped Donegal in a frantic Allianz League Division 1 clash in Letterkenny.

Kevin Walsh’s team marked their return to the top-flight with a useful victory over Tyrone seven days beforehand and now have two from two, whilst Donegal had to make the long trek back from Killarney following a narrow 2-18 to 3-14 reversal against Kerry.

Today, they were beaten by the bare minimum again.

Donegal showed their newfound adventure in that contest last week, away from the templated and rigid defensive shapes of yesteryear.

However, today, with the score level at 0-3 apiece on 15 minutes, they were guilty of leaving a bubble of opportunity in their back line and Eamonn Brannigan coolly slotted a goal past Peter Boyle having been set away into space by Declan Kyne.

Donegal, still without the injured Michael Murphy, were overly-reliant on Patrick McBrearty to begin with.

The Kilcar forward would put over all but two of Donegal’s first-half points and nine in all but it was Galway, with Shane Walsh scoring three points in the final 10 minutes of the opening half.

In injury time, Stephen McBrearty added a point to one from Paul Brennan to at least leave the home support with a degree of optimism as the queues for tea lengthened.

That confidence might’ve been eroded somewhat in the opening exchanges of the second half when Galway came within a whisker of a second goal as Eamonn Doherty was pickpocketed taking the ball from defence.

Patrick McBrearty Patrick McBrearty in action. Source: Evan Logan/INPHO

A lightening-fast exchange of passes saw Damien Comer punch with venom towards goal only for Boyle in the Donegal goal to turn the ball over the crossbar at the concession of a point.

With Patrick McBrearty on fire, Donegal were giving themselves a chance. His ninth point, from a 42nd minute free, edged Declan Bonner’s side ahead for the first time at 0-12 to 1-8.

Walsh was Galway’s go-to man and he bagged two points back-to-back and suddenly Galway were ahead again, 1-10 to 0-12.

Momentum was changing hands at a bewildering speed as Ryan McHugh and substitute Ciaran McGinley both levelled for Donegal, either side of Walsh’s sixth for Galway.

But it was left to Armstrong to win the match for Galway, who held tight for the remaining five minutes — one in normal time and four that were added — to continue their excellent start to life in Division 1.

Scorers for Donegal: Patrick McBrearty 0-9 (6f), Stephen McBrearty 0-2, Paul Brennan, Ryan McHugh, Ciaran McGinley 0-1 each.

Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-6 (4f), Damien Comer 0-3, Eamonn Brannigan 1-0, Paul Conroy, Johnny Heaney, Sean Armstrong 0-1 each

Donegal: Peter Boyle; Stephen McMenamin, Caolan Ward, Eoghan Ban Gallagher; Ryan McHugh, Paul Brennan, Tony McClenaghan; Leo McLoone, Hugh McFadden; Stephen McBrearty, Odhrán Mac Niallais, Caolan McGonagle; Patrick McBrearty, Darach O’Connor, Martin O’Reilly. Subs: Eamonn Doherty for McClenaghan (24), Niall O’Donnell for O’Reilly (half-time), Ciaran Thompson for McGonagle (half-time), Mark McHugh for Doherty (54), Ciaran McGinley for S McBrearty (62), Kevin McBrearty for Thompson (black card, 70).

Galway: Ruairí Lavelle; Declan Kyne, Sean Andy Ó Ceallaigh, Eoghan Kerin; Cathal Sweeney, Gareth Bradshaw, Johnny Heaney; Paul Conroy, Peter Cooke; Seán Kelly, Shane Walsh, Eamonn Brannigan; Patrick Sweeney, Damien Comer, Adrian Varley. Subs: Padraic Cunningham for Varley (50), Gary O’Donnell for C Sweeney (60), Thomas Flynn for P Sweeney (60), Sean Armstrong for Cooke (63), Johnny Duane for Ó Ceallaigh (65).

Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh).

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Alan Foley

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