Donegal’s Patrick McBrearty celebrates scoring the winning point. James Crombie/INPHO

Patrick McBrearty delivers some late drama for Donegal to stun Kerry

The concession of an opening goal on 14 minutes – a gift tucked home by Dara Moynihan – had stiffened the home side’s task.
Donegal 0-13
Kerry 1-9

Alan Foley reports from Ballybofey

DONEGAL CAME FROM six points down to post an unexpected victory over Kerry with Patrick McBrearty kicking a dramatic 74th-minute winner.

The concession of an opening goal on 14 minutes – a gift tucked home by Dara Moynihan – stiffened the home side’s task, although it made their priorities straight forward and Paddy Carr was delighted to post his first win as manager.

Donegal is a bit of a non-sovereign monarchy since Michael Murphy abdicated the throne in November and in the Kingdom, well, they’ve one with his feet up for a bit.

First-time league starter Darragh Roche scored three first half points and Barry O’Sullivan’s five-year sabbatical is at an end, just like Donegal’s Martin O’Reilly whose last championship appearances came that same year in 2018. Another first-timer, Caolan McColgan of Donegal, kicked three points from wing-back.

It was 0-2 apiece with both teams still at the sussing-out stage, when Shaun Patton played a short kick-out to Mark Curran. In turn Brendan McCole attempted to round Moynihan, only to get pickpocketed and Moynihan had the easiest job in the Twin Towns to slot into the empty net.

Kerry built from there and Tom O’Sullian and Killian Spillane helped them into a 1-6 to 0-3 lead by the 25th minute. It made for a decent start but they would only muster three more scores in the match.

jason-mcgee-and-barry-osullivan James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Kerry had some right to complain about a McColgan point, which may have drifted wide at the last minute. One of three Donegal league debutants with Curran and McColgan the others, Johnny McGroddy kicked a fine long-range score as the half drew to close, with the visitors 1-6 to 0-6 in front when it did end.

Having kicked the last three points of the first half, Donegal put over the first four of the second to turn a six-point deficit into a one-point lead. Ó Baoill, O’Donnell and then Jamie Brennan scored to give the defiant – they love a bit of defiance in Donegal – home support reason to raise their supportive voices and on terms.

Then, Luke McGlynn – just over a minute after landing on the field – kicked Donegal into a lead of 0-10 to 1-6. Kerry’s first score in 24 minutes, which came from Paul Murphy, tied it up.

From there till the end, three times Donegal went in front again – Patton from a 45 which was the only placed ball scored in the match and McColgan – and twice Kerry levelled, with Ronan Buckley and Donal O’Sullivan’s fist doing enough. But when McBrearty got in on the act, that was that.

Donegal scorers: Caolan McColgan, Conor O’Donnell 0-3 each, Daire Ó Baoill 0-2, Johnny McGroddy, Luke McGlynn, Jamie Brenna, Shaun Patton, Patrick McBrearty 0-1 each.

Kerry scorers: Darragh Roche 0-3, Dara Moynihan 1-0, Paul Murphy 0-2, Tom O’Sullivan, Killian Spillane, Ronan Buckley, Donal O’Sullivan 0-1 each.


Shaun Patton

Mark Curran
Brendan McCole
Caolan Ward

Caolan McColgan
Stephen McMenamin
Martin O’Reilly

Caolan McGonagle
Jason McGee

Johnny McGroddy
Daire Ó Baoill
Conor O’Donnell

Hugh McFadden
Patrick McBrearty
Jamie Brennan

Luke McGlynn for McFadden (42)
Jeaic Mac Ceallabhui for McGroddy (64).


Shaun Murphy

Graham O’Sullivan
Jason Foley
Tom O’Sullivan

Mike Breen
Tadhg Morley
Paul Murphy

Jack Barry
Barry O’Sullivan

Michael Burns
Dara Moynihan
Adrian Spillane

Tony Brosnan
Darragh Roche
Killian Spillane

Ronan Buckley for Breen (47)
Ruairi Murphy for A Spillane (47)
Donal O’Sullivan for Burns (55)
Stefan Okunbar for B O’Sullivan (55)
Greg Horan for Moynihan (62).

Referee: Liam Devenney (Mayo).

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