Doneagl 1-19 Louth 3-7: Donegal took a step closer to a Division 1 return when they relegated Louth in Ballyshannon yesterday, but the end margin should have been greater for Jim McGuinness's side.
Two goals in a mad-cap minute in the second half hauled Louth back into the game when all had seemed lost for the Wee County.
Donegal raced into a 0-13 to 0-1 lead with Colm McFadden, Christy Toye and the excellent Rory Kavanagh among the scorers. Donegal were scoring at will and Louth were all at sea before Paddy Keenan gave them momentary cheer late in the half.
After Donegal 'keeper Paul Durcan palmed down Declan Byrne's long ball in, Paddy Keenan pounced to rifle to the net.
Donegal looked to be in cruise control when Toye, McFadden and Michael Murphy stretched the lead.
But Louth made them pay for a severe bout of sloppiness, hitting 2-4 in a 10-minute spell to give them a sweat.
First, Keenan drilled home in style after Adrian Reid took receipt of a poor Durcan kick-out and, barely a minute later, their top scorer Brian White hit a third Louth goal to reduce the arrears to three points.
But Donegal sub David Walsh powered home to settle the nerves and ensure victory.
DONEGAL: P Durcan; E McGee, N McGee, K Lacey; Declan Walsh (0-1), L McLoone, A Thompson (0-1); R Kavanagh (0-2), C Toye (0-3); M McHugh, D Molloy (0-1), O MacNiallais; C McFadden (0-7, 5f), M Murphy (0-4, 3f), P McBrearty. Subs: R McHugh for Lacey (h/t), David Walsh (1-0) for McBrearty (53), G McFadden for Kavanagh (68), L Keaney for Thompson (70).
LOUTH: N Gallagher; P Rath, D Finnegan, J O'Brien; G O'Hare, D Crilly, A Reid; P Keenan (2-0), B Donnelly; P Reilly, B White (1-3, 2f, 1 '45), S Campbell; A McDonnell, E O'Connor, S Lennon (0-3, 2f). Subs: D O'Hanlon for Finnegan (4, black card), C Judge for Campbell (22), B Duffy (0-1) for O'Connor (30, black card), D Byrne for Judge (31), L Shevlin for Reilly (49), D Clarke for Donnelly (64).
Referee: M Higgins (Fermanagh).