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Dublin: 19 °C Monday 22 July, 2019
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Good afternoon and welcome along to our live coverage of the All-Ireland senior football championship Super 8s clash between Donegal and Meath from Ballybofey.

After reigning supreme in Ulster again, Donegal begin their Super 8s Group 1 campaign against beaten Leinster finalists Meath, who came through a Round 4 Qualifier against Clare to reach this stage of the championship.

Declan Bonner’s Donegal have moved impressively through the gears already this summer and will want to lay down another marker on home soil.

Throw in is at 2pm and we’ll bring you all the action as it happens. 

The teams have arrived at MacCumhaill Park.

Neil McGee and Michael Murphy arrive at MacCumhaill Park Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Stephen Rochford arrives at MacCumhaill Park followed by manager Declan Bonner Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

If you haven’t heard, Dublin manager Jim Gavin has confirmed Diarmuid Connolly is back training with the All-Ireland champions after his move to America to play there for the summer fell through due to Visa issues. More here.

Here’s how the teams will line up this afternoon.

Donegal:

1. Shaun Patton

21. Paul Brennan
3. Neil McGee
4. Stephen McMenamin

5. Ryan McHugh
22. Odhran McFadden Ferry
7. Eoghan Bán Gallagher

8. Hugh McFadden
9. Jason McGee

10. Ciarán Thompson
11. Niall O’Donnell
12. Jamie Brennan

13. Patrick McBrearty
14. Michael Murphy
15. Michael Langan.

Meath:

1. Andrew Colgan

2. Seamus Lavin
3. Conor McGill
4. Shane Gallagher

5. Donal Keogan
6. Padraic Harnan
7. Gavin McCoy

8. Bryan Menton
9. Shane McEntee

10. Ethan Devine
11. Bryan McMahon
26. James McEntee

13. Cillian O’Sullivan
14. Michael Newman
15. James Conlon.

Conditions are absolutely perfect at Ballybofey, where an expectant home crowd of over 12,000 have packed into the ground ahead of this one. Throw in is fast approaching.

A Meath flag is raised in the crowd Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Declan Bonner before the game Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Andy McEntee before the game Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

A general view of MacCumhaill Park Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

This is the fourth championship meeting between these two counties, with Meath winning the 1990 All-Ireland semi-final [3-9 to 1-7] while Donegal won the All-Ireland qualifiers [1-13 to 0-14] in 2002 and 2017 [Donegal 1-15 Meath 1-14].

Meanwhile, Donegal and Meath met twice in this year’s Allianz League Division 2 with the Ulster men winning both by two points — which way do you see this one going?


Poll Results:

Donegal (290)
Meath (50)
Draw  (7)



We’ve had the national anthem and referee Conor Lane is ready to get us underway. Remember, we have live updates from the All-Ireland SHC quarter-final between Cork and Kilkenny from Croke Park here. A big day of championship action.

1Mins

Donegal 0-0 Meath 0-1

We’re up and running in Ballybofey and it’s the visitors who have started on the front foot, opening the scoring through Cillian O’Sullivan.

3Mins

Donegal 0-1 Meath 0-1

Fast start to proceedings here and the home side are level as Paddy McBrearty powers forward and then links up with Jamie Brennan, who gets Donegal on the board from close range. 

5Mins

Donegal 0-3 Meath 0-1 

Paddy McBrearty at his best as he shows skill and strength to manufacture the space for himself to fire over his first point of the afternoon. Shortly after, Michael Murphy gets in on the act to extend Donegal’s early lead.

6Mins

Donegal 0-3 Meath 0-2

Meath find a good response as Bryan Menton steps up to land his side’s second of the game. They needed that to settle again. 

6Mins

Donegal 0-4 Meath 0-2

At the other end, Donegal move it with pace and precision to open Meath up and Jason McGee is the man to finish. 

10Mins

Donegal 0-5 Meath 0-2

Meath are struggling on kick out as Donegal press high and apply the squeeze. It’s something Andy McEntee’s side are going to have to address as Brennan swings over another point. 

12Mins

Donegal 0-5 Meath 0-4

Excellent score from Mikey Newman, and Meath have worked hard to stay in touch inside this opening quarter. 

14Mins

Donegal 0-5 Meath 0-4

It has been end-to-end in Ballybofey so far, with plenty of fascinating contests all over the park. 

18Mins

Donegal 0-6 Meath 0-4

O’Sullivan has been a livewire for Meath in the opening 17 minutes, causing the Donegal defence plenty of problems, but Newman can’t take advantage from a free won by O’Sullivan.

At the other end, Ryan McHugh shows him how it’s done with a brilliant piece of individual play. 

18Mins

Hugh McFadden with Shane McEntee Hugh McFadden and Shane McEntee battle for possession. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

19Mins

Donegal 0-6 Meath 0-4

Both teams taking the opportunity to get some fluids on board on what is a hot and sticky afternoon in Ballybofey. Very little between the sides so far.

23Mins

Donegal 0-6 Meath 0-5

The Ulster champions aren’t having it all their own way and Meath are back to within one, as James Conlon gets himself on the board. 

Flag 24Mins

GOAL! Donegal 1-6 Meath 0-5 (McBrearty)

But, just like that, Donegal strike at the other end. McBrearty wins it out wide and takes full advantage, powering towards goal and firing it high into the net from a tight angle. The hosts lead by four. 

25Mins

Donegal 1-7 Meath 0-5

Niall O’Donnell stretches Donegal’s lead. 

28Mins

Donegal 1-7 Meath 0-7

It’s important that Meath keep the scoreboard ticking over as Donegal look to pull clear, and back-to-back scores, courtesy of Newman and McMahon, is just what the visitors needed as we approach the break. 

35Mins

Donegal 1-8 Meath 0-7

Michael Murphy gets his second of the half and Donegal are four ahead again. We’ll have three minutes of added time. 

38Mins

Donegal 1-9 Meath 0-8

Langan spins and pops over his first score of the day on the stroke of half-time and Donegal lead by five — but Meath hit straight back through McMahon.

44Mins

What did you make of that first half? 

Paddy McBrearty’s goal put Donegal in control but Meath, to their credit, have worked hard to stay in touch and there are four points between the sides at the break. 

36Mins

The teams are back out in Ballybofey and we’re ready for the second half. A big 35 minutes of football ahead. 

37Mins

Donegal 1-9 Meath 0-9

Meath on the front foot from the off as the visitors drive forward from the restart and score through James McEntee.

38Mins

Donegal 1-9 Meath 0-9

Meath have made a very, very bright start to this half. O’Sullivan does brilliantly to turn his man and his dipping effort forces the Donegal goalkeeper to backpedal and make a save, creating a goal chance for James Conlon — but he hits the post from close range. 

39Mins

Donegal 1-10 Meath 0-9

McBrearty knocks over Donegal’s first free of the day.

44Mins

Donegal 1-11 Meath 0-9

Huge let-off for Donegal as Meath’s celebrations have been cut short by the officials. Gavin McCoy has the ball in the net for the visitors but it’s chalked off because he was in the square before the ball came across. 

44Mins

Donegal 1-11 Meath 0-9

Both sides have made a change, with Paul Brennan making way for Daire O Baoill and, on the Meath side, Shane Walsh replaces James Conlon.

45Mins

GOAL! Donegal 1-11 Meath 1-9 (Newman)

 

Donal Keogan bursts through the Donegal defence and is brought down inside the area, leaving referee Conor Lane with little choice but to award the penalty. From the spot, Newman beats Shaun Patton. Game on!

45Mins

Donegal 1-11 Meath 1-10

There’s now just one point between the sides. Bryan McMahon keeps the momentum with Meath. 

48Mins

Donegal 1-11 Meath 1-11

Meath are motoring now! Menton collects the loose ball and swings it over to level the scores in Ballybofey. 

51Mins

Donegal 1-11 Meath 1-11

Donegal’s four-point lead has evaporated in the blink of an eye and Bonner has responded by making a double change. Ciaran Thompson and Niall O’Donnell are replaced by Eoin McHugh and Oisin Gallen. 

53Mins

Donegal 1-11 Meath 0-12

The visitors lead — and it comes courtesy of a brilliantly worked score finished off by Darragh Campion. What a response this has been from Andy McEntee’s men. 

57Mins

Donegal 1-13 Meath 1-12

Shane Gallagher takes one for the team there as he picks up a black card and McBrearty knocks over the resulting free. From the following play, Ryan McHugh puts Donegal back in front. 

59Mins

Donegal 1-13 Meath 1-13

What a chance for McEntee. It just opens up for him and the goal is at his mercy, but he can’t keep his effort down and Meath have to settle for a point.

60Mins

Donegal 1-15 Meath 1-13

Moments later, Jamie Brennan has a sight of goal for Donegal but, like McEntee at the other end, he goes too high and it’s a point rather than a goal. Oisin Gallen then adds another for Donegal. 

61Mins

Donegal 1-16 Meath 1-13

Donegal are back in the ascendancy again as McBrearty knocks over another free. They lead by three. 

61Mins

Donegal 1-17 Meath 1-13

Meath feel O’Sullivan was fouled but their penalty appeals are waved away and then McBrearty extends Donegal’s lead to four.

66Mins

It’s tight in Ballybofey — we’re in for a cracking finish!

Shane McEntee reacts to a decision made by referee Conor Lane Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

69Mins

Donegal 1-17 Meath 1-13

Big moment there as McBrearty is denied a second goal by a brilliant block and Meath are still fighting. 

70Mins

Donegal 1-18 Meath 1-13

Murphy adds another and Donegal now lead by five as we head into six minutes of added time. 

Flag 71Mins

GOAL! Donegal 2-18 Meath 1-13 (Gallen)

And that’s that. A first championship goal for Oisin Gallen seals victory for Donegal. 

Flag 74Mins

Full-time! Donegal 2-19 Meath 1-13

A valiant effort from Andy McEntee’s Meath comes up short as Donegal, through the imperious Michael Murphy and Paddy McBrearty, get up and running in the Super 8s with a hard-fought win. 

74Mins

Job done for Donegal in Ballybofey. Thanks for joining us this afternoon, until next time goodbye!

Ryan McHugh with Gavin McCoy Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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