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Report: Donegal end 20-year drought to win Sam

The Tir Chonaill men were crowned All-Ireland champions after a 2-11 to 0-13 win at Croke Park this afternoon.

Michael Murphy of Donegal scores the first goal of the game
Michael Murphy of Donegal scores the first goal of the game
Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer

Donegal 2-11 Mayo 0-13

DONEGAL ARE ALL-Ireland SFC champions for only the second time.

The Ulster champions started strongly and maintained their lead throughout the 70 minutes to seal a 2-11 to 0-13 win over fellow finalists Mayo at a capacity Croke Park this afternoon.

The Tir Chonaill men got off to the perfect start and found themselves seven point ahead thanks to two quick-fire goals in the opening minutes.

Karl Kacey took off on an excellent run before kicking towards the full-forward position, where Michael Murphy showed his strength to hold off Kevin Keane and smash the ball beyond David Clarke.

After pointing from a free, Colm McFadden then found the back of the net on 12 minutes. Paddy McBrearty’s effort came back off the point and the St Michael’s clubman reacted first to pounce on the loose ball and make it 2-01 to 0-00.

Mayo responded with scores from Kevin McLoughlin and Cillian O’Connor, whose free-taking was excellent on the day.

Despite the blow, Mayo regrouped and had closed the gap to just three points at half-time – when it stood at 2-04 to 0-07 to Donegal.

Donegal’s Rory Kavanagh and Alan Dillon of Mayo. Credit: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

The second half began with a couple of wides on both sides before McFadden and O’Connor were successful with frees and Frank McGlynn finished off a patient Mayo move.

Jim McGuinness introduced Martin McElhinney and Christy Toye but the Yew County men kept themselves in with a shout and with five minutes on the clock, there were five points between them.

Donegal looked to have sealed the win in the 67th miunute when a superb team move was ended by Neil Gallagher’s score.

However, Mayo had one final goal chance right at the end when Alan Freeman offloaded to Seamus O’Shea but the forward lost his footing at the final moment and the result was a free to Donegal.

“We got off to a fantastic start with Michael’s goal and then my own but Mayo came back at us,” Colm McFadden told RTE Radio 1 after the final whistle.

“They tackled ferociously in the midfield, battled hard but thankfully we could hold on. It’s still hard to believe now.

We’ve been sheltered from the buzz the past couple of weeks but can go back to Donegal now and enjoy it. I’m delighted for the people of Donegal.”

Mayo manager James Horan told RTE Sport after the game: “We gave seven points away at the start of the game and it’s very hard to come back from that

“We kept plugging away and got close but couldn’t go ahead. At the start of the second half, we played well but your first touch wasn’t good enough and some simple stuff cost us today.

“A lot of the ball wasn’t sticking and they were winning breaking ball. To win All-ireland final, our touch needs to be better.”

Donegal scorers: Michael Murphy 1-4 (0-3f), Colm McFadden 1-4 (0-3f), Neil Gallagher, Ryan Bradley, Frank McGlynn 0-1 each.
Mayo scorers: Cillian O’Connor 0-5 (0-5f), Enda Varley (0-1f), Kevin McLoughlin 0-2 each, Lee Keegan, Michael Conroy, Richie Feeney, Jason Gibbons 0-1 each.
DONEGAL: Paul Durcan (Four Masters); Paddy McGrath (Ardara), Neil McGee (Gweedore), Frank McGlynn (Glenfin); Eamonn McGee (Gweedore), Karl Lacey (Four Masters), Anthony Thompson (Naomh Conaill); Neil Gallagher (Glenswilly), Rory Kavanagh (St Eunan’s); Ryan Bradley (Buncrana), Leo McLoone (Naomh Conaill), Mark McHugh (Kilcar); Patrick McBrearty (Kilcar), Michael Murphy (Glenswilly), Colm McFadden (St Michael’s). Subs: David Walsh for Ryan Bradley (40 mins), Martin McElhinney for Paddy McBrearty (47 mins), Christy Toye for Leo McLoone (57 mins), Dermot Molloy for McElhinney.
MAYO: David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites); Kevin Keane (Westport), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Lee Keegan (Westport), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Colm Boyle (Davitts); Barry Moran (Castlebar Mitchels), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber), Alan Dillon (Ballintubber); Michael Conroy (Davitts), Enda Varley (Garrymore), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole). Subs: Jason Gibbons for Michael Conroy (59 mins), Richie Feeney for Enda Varley (60 mins), Seamus O’Shea for Barry Moran.

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Ben Blake

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