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Dublin: 2°C Friday 7 May 2021

Scully's goals prove key for Dublin as they prevail against battling Donegal

53,501 in attendance at Croke Park tonight.

Dublin and Donegal players battle for aerial possession.
Dublin and Donegal players battle for aerial possession.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Dublin 2-15
Donegal 0-16

Fintan O’Toole reports from Croke Park

THE EXPECTED VICTORY for Dublin, yet a defeat which can sustain hope for Donegal.

A new football championship format has not disrupted Dublin’s winning streak, Jim Gavin saw his charges scoop up the points on offer in their first group game in the Super 8s as they were five to the good by the final whistle tonight in Croke Park.

In a scoring sense that was chiefly due to Niall Scully contributing a pair of smartly-taken goals to the Dublin cause. The first in the 28th minute saw him skilfully evade a few challenges and finish with assurance with his right foot to the net.

Then he provided Dublin with an instant boost in the second half, evading the cover and after he was fed by Jonny Cooper, he planted the ball into the goal in front of Hill 16.

There could have been further goals scored by the Sam Maguire holders. Shaun Patton showed his worth to Donegal’s aspirations in the first half, twice repelling goalbound efforts from Con O’Callaghan. He stood up as well in the second half to beat away a Brian Fenton attempt to find the net.

But Donegal contributed plenty to this encounter, stood up well to the fearsome challenge Dublin pose and chalked up a healthy scoring tally in 0-16. Dublin hit the opening two points of the game through a pair of converted Dean Rock placed balls yet then Donegal hit back with a trio of points from play.

They edged in front on the scoreboard on a couple of occasions in the first half with quality points from the likes of Michael Murphy, Jamie Brennan and Ciarán Thompson. The call to deny them a penalty for a foul on Paddy McGrath looked questionable and Dublin capitalised with Scully’s goal and the superb Brian Howard also pointing the way.

1-9 to 0-8 in favour of Dublin and they had sailed eight points clear early in the second half. Donegal kept pushing hard, reeling off four in a row to cut the deficit but Dublin’s impressive bench told as they were always able to manufacture scoring opportunities.

Cormac Costello and Paul Flynn were capable of bagging the chances on offer, they both fired a brace from play in the second half. Dublin’s ball retention and game intelligence were also crucial ingredients. They kept Donegal at bay and got the job done. A trip to Healy Park next Saturday awaits.

Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 0-7 (0-5f, 0-1 ’45), Niall Scully 2-0, Brian Howard, Cormac Costello, Paul Flynn 0-2 each, James McCarthy, Ciarán Kilkenny 0-1 each.

Scorers for Donegal: Michael Murphy 0-6 (0-3f, 0-1 ’45), Jamie Brennan 0-3, Ryan McHugh, Michael Langan 0-2 each, Ciarán Thompson, Frank McGlynn, Eamonn Doherty 0-1 each.


1. Stephen Cluxton (Parnell’s)

2. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala)
7. Jonny Cooper (Na Fianna)
24. Eoin Murchan (Na Fianna)

6. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams)
26. Cian O’Sullivan (Kilmacud Crokes)
21. Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf)

8. Brian Fenton (Raheny)
9. Michael Darragh MacAuley (Ballyboden St Enda’s)

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10. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street)
11. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala)
5. Brian Howard (Raheny)

13. Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes)
12. Ciaran Kilkenny (Castleknock)
14. Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams)


18. Cormac Costello (Whitehall Colmcille) for MacAuley (46)
22. Kevin McManamon (St Judes) for Mannion (48)
20. Paul Flynn (Fingallians) for Howard (54)
4. Eric Lowndes (St Peregrine’s) for McCaffrey (62)
17. Colm Basquel (Ballyboden St-Enda’s) for O’Callaghan (70)
19. Darren Daly (Fingal Ravens) for Fitzsimons (75)


1. Shaun Patton (St Eunan’s)

17. Stephen McMenamin (Aodh Rua)
5. Frank McGlynn (Glenfin)
4. Eoghan Bán Gallagher(Killybegs)

7. Ryan McHugh (Kilcar)
6. Paul Brennan (Bundoran)
2. Paddy McGrath (Ardara)

8. Hugh McFadden (Killybegs)
13. Odhran MacNiallais (Gaoth Dobhair)

26. Eamonn Doherty (St Eunan’s)
14. Michael Murphy (Glenswilly – captain)
12. Ciaran Thompson (Naomh Conall)

9. Leo McLoone (Naomh Conaill)
11. Michael Langan (St Michael’s)
15. Jamie Brennan (Bundoran)


3. Neil McGee (Gaoth Dobhair) for McGrath (half-time)
20. Daire Ó Baoill (Gaoth Dobhair) for MacNiallais (51)
10. Cian Mulligan (Gaoth Dobhair) for Thompson (53)
18. Caolan Ward (St Eunan’s) for Doherty (57)
23. Anthony Thompson (Naomh Conaill) for Paul Brennan (62)
21. Stephen McBrearty (Kilcar) for Jamie Brennan (66)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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