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Galway complete improbable seven-point comeback to beat Donegal

Padraic Joyce’s side continued their fine start to the year with a one-point victory in Letterkenny.

Donegal's Paul Brennan and Galway's Michael Daly.
Donegal's Paul Brennan and Galway's Michael Daly.
Image: Evan Logan/INPHO

Donegal 2-07

Galway 2-08 

Alan Foley reports from Letterkenny

GALWAY CONTINUED THEIR early-season ascendency in the Allianz League Division One as a stirring second-half performance saw off Donegal in Letterkenny.

Seven points down at 2-5 to 0-4 in the 43rd minute and facing into the wind, it looked as though Padraic Joyce’s team would be heading back down the N17 with nothing.

However, they mustered goals from unlikely sources – corner-backs Johnny Heaney and Séan Kelly were on target – although the hosts will wonder how they lost it. Both Ciaran Thompson and Michael Murphy missed injury time frees to force a share of the spoils.

In a gripping encounter in awkward conditions with Storm Ciara still lingering in the air, Donegal were 1-3 to 0-4 up at half-time. Murphy smashed a 22nd-minute penalty under Ronan Ó Beoláin, the Galway substitute goalkeeper, who had taken over from the sin-binned Connor Gleeson between the sticks.

Declan Bonner’s side continued to press in the second half and went 2-5 to 0-4 ahead when Ciaran Thompson rattled home a second goal following Ryan McHugh’s pass on 43 minutes.

Galway looked to be in trouble, although their quick-fire response within seconds of conceding that second goal was imperative. Heaney galloped into space and drilled past Shaun Patton to give his side hope.

Galway fashioned a second goal on 53 minutes when Kelly slipped his way through with one simple jink to get inside and into space to tuck into the bottom corner for 2-5 apiece.

Shane Walsh, impressive throughout, scored four in all and Michael Daly’s point left Galway two up, although a man down when he was was dismissed for a second yellow having felled Caolan Ward with a high challenge three minutes from time.

Thompson cut that gap in half and as well as the two late wides, Donegal also had a pointed chalked off in the 70th minute for square ball against Murphy.

Galway had blown it eight days beforehand at Austin Stack Park; they weren’t going to do it again at O’Donnell Park.

Donegal scorers: Michael Murphy 1-3 (1-0 pen, 0-1 free, 0-1 45, 0-1 am), Ciaran Thompson (1-1, 1f), Jamie Brennan 0-2 (0-1 am) Peadar Mogan.

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Galway scorers: Johnny Heaney, Sean Kelly 1-0 each, Shane Walsh 0-4 (2f), Robert Finnerty (0-2), Damien Comer, Michael Daly (0-1).

DONEGAL: Shaun Patton; Caolan Ward, Neil McGee, Eoghan Ban Gallagher; Ryan McHugh, Conor O’Donnell, Odhran McFadden-Ferry; Caolan McGonagle, Michael Langan; Eoin McHugh, Peadar Mogan, Paul Brennan;  Ciaran Thompson, Michael Murphy, Jamie Brennan

Subs: Niall O’Donnell for Mogan (35+2), Andrew McClean for McGonagle (half-time), Daire O Baoill for E McHugh (56)

GALWAY: Connor Gleeson; Sean Kelly, Sean Mulkerrin, Johnny Heaney; Gary O’Donnell, John Daly, Cillian McDaid; Ronan Steede, Cein D’Arcy; Finnian O’Laoi, Damien Comer, Michael Daly; Robert Finnerty, Shane Walsh, Michael Boyle

Subs: Ronan Ó Beoláin for 22 (22), O Laoi for Gleeson (32), Conor Campbell for McDaid (35+3), Adrian Varley for Steed (half-time), Paul Conroy for O Laoi (44)

About the author:

Alan Foley

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