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Dublin: 11°C Wednesday 21 April 2021

McCaffrey cracker lights up feisty clash between Dubs and Donegal

Dublin ran out five-point winners of a niggly Division 1 clash in Croke Park.

Eoghan O'Gara is swarmed by the Donegal blanket.
Eoghan O'Gara is swarmed by the Donegal blanket.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Dublin 2-10

Donegal 0-11

Niall Kelly reports from Croke Park

JACK MCCAFFREY LIT up Croke Park with a sensational strike as Dublin overpowered Donegal for their first points of the season.

This wasn’t quite revenge for last summer’s All-Ireland exit but it got the Dubs’ bid for a league three-in-a-row up and running at the second time of asking.

There was more bite than might have been expected for the second weekend in February and Dublin played the final 25 minutes with 14 men after Kevin McManamon was shown a second yellow for a clash with Mark McHugh.

There were only two points between the sides at that stage, 1-7 to 0-8, but it was the Dubs who kicked on to win by five in front of 22,968 in HQ.

Jim Gavin welcomed back a number of familiar faces including Ciaran Kilkenny, who played 50 minutes and kicked a point on his return from a lengthy cruciate lay-off. Bernard Brogan also made his first appearance in blue since last August with a late cameo from the bench.

Neil McGee confronts Eoghan OÕGara Tempers boiled over more than once. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

By the time he entered the fray the game had already been put to bed, McCaffrey’s highlight-reel finish on 63 minutes ending any hope of a twist. He gathered Davy Byrne’s pass and with Michael Murphy in pursuit, raced free before looping a brilliant shot over the head of Donegal’s sub keeper Michael Boyle.

Their usual netminder Paul Durcan was forced off after he took a blow to the head while trying to stop Dublin’s opening goal in the sixth minute. McManamon and Lowndes combined superbly to set Cormac Costello free and he was composed enough to steer clear of Durcan before finishing.

It helped Dublin into a one-point lead at the break, 1-5 to 0-7, and they kept their noses in front with the help of three pointed frees from Dean Rock after the restart.

Christy Toye’s second point of the evening kept the difference between the sides to the minimum before McCaffrey struck a fine point and then his superb goal to secure the two points.

Colm McFadden made his first appearance of the season, kicking a point during his 15-minute stint, while Donegal captain Michael Murphy was shown a black card for a late trip.

Jack McCaffrey celebrates scoring a goal McCaffrey's goal sealed Dublin's win. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Scorers for Dublin: D Rock 0-5 (4f, 1 45), J McCaffrey 1-1, C Costello 1-0, Davy Byrne, E O’Conghaile, E O’Gara, C Kilkenny 0-1 each.

Scorers for Donegal: P McBrearty, M Murphy (2f) 0-4 each, C Toye 0-2, C McFadden 0-1.


1. Sean Currie

2. Eoin Culligan
22. Michael Fitzsimons
4. Daren Daly

5. Jonny Cooper
6. John Small
23. Davy Byrne

8. Denis Bastick
20. Eric Lowndes

10. Tomas Brady
11. Dean Rock
12. Emmett O’Conghaile

13. Kevin McManamon
14. Eoghan O’Gara
15. Cormac Costello


24. David Byrne for Culligan (16)
21. Ciaran Kilkenny for Brady (19)
7. Jack McCaffrey for Lowndes (49)
18. Philly McMahon for Cooper (60)
25. Bernard Brogan for Costello (64)
19. Ciaran Reddin for Davy Byrne (70)


1.Paul Durcan

2. Eamonn Doherty
3. Eamonn McGee
4. Paddy McGrath

5. Frank McGlynn
6. Karl Lacey
7. Mark McHugh

8. Neil Gallagher
9. Christy Toye

10. Ryan McHugh
11. Martin O’Reilly
12. Odhrán Mac Niallais

13. Patrick McBrearty
14. Michael Murphy
15. Hugh McFadden


16. Michael Boyle for Durcan (6)
28. Neil McGee for Paddy McGrath (19)
19. Martin McElhinney for O’Reilly (46)
27. Colm McFadden for H McFadden (54)
21. Darach O’Connor for Doherty (64)
20. Daniel McLaughlin for Murphy (black card, 68)

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)

‘I didn’t want to be too influenced by it’ – Ger Cunningham on the Anthony Daly book

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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