Derry corner forward Eoghan Brown converted two difficult frees in the last five minutes at O’Cahan Park, Dungiven to earn his side a deserved share of the spoils in an entertaining game in heavy conditions.
Donegal made nine changes, Derry six, from their last game as the respective managers continued to experiment.
And on experiments, the rules continued to confuse and exasperate in equal measure as both sides picked up five yellow cards amidst a plethora of black cards that could just as easily have been yellow.
Five times the sides were level in the opening 27 minutes.
Stephen Griffin scored Donegal’s only point from open play to put Donegal 0-5 to 0-4 ahead after he’d shared the free taking duties with Kevin McMenamin for the first four points.
In contrast Enda Lynn (right with Donegal's Rory Kavanagh), Seamus Bradley, Lynn and Gavan McShane scored from play, for 0-4 each, Paul Cartin levelling the scores at 0-5 each in the 27th minute before Seamus Bradley from a free, Lynn and Eoghan Brown gave Derry a 0-8 to 0-5 interval lead.
Donegal upped the tempo in the second half, Derry’s cause not helped by the loss of Joe Diver, Paul Cartin and Patsy Bradley to yellow cards in a 20 minute spell.
Eoghan Brown and Enda Lynn responded to a Griffin free but the visitors then reeled off a raft of points, David Walsh weighing in with three from play, before Brown tied the scores with two late pointed frees.
DERRY SCORERS: Enda Lynn 0-03, Seamus Bradley 0-04, 0-01 free, Eoghan Brown 0-04, 0-02 frees, Gavan McShane and Paul Cartin 0-01 each.
DONEGAL: Stephen Griffin 0-05, 0-04 frees, Kevin McMenamin 0-03, 0-02 frees,
David Walsh 0-03, Neil Gallagher and Brendan Boyle 0-01 each.
DERRY: Shane McGuckin; Brian Og McAlary, Sean Martin Lockhart, Michael Drumm; Paul Cartin, Chris McKaigue, Barry McGuigan; Joe Diver, Patsy Bradley; Enda Lynn, Paul Young, Brian Mullan; Seamus Bradley, Gavan McShane, Eoghan Brown. Subs: Aidan McAlynn for Joe Diver (45 mins Yellow), Mickey McBride for Paul Cartin (49 mins Yellow), Paul Murphy for Gavan McShane (52 mins), Caolan O’Boyle for Patsy Bradley (53 mins Yellow), Kevin O’Connor for Paul Young (65 mins).
DONEGAL: Eunan McGinley; Johnny Gallagher, Raymond Sweeney, Paddy McDaid; Eamon McGee, Kevin Rafferty, Shane McGowan; Ciaran Bonner, Rory Kavanagh; Michael Doherty, David Walsh, Odhran Doherty; Kevin McMenamin, Ryan Bradley, Stephen Griffin. Subs: Barry Monaghan for Ciaran Bonner (32 mins Yellow), Cathal McGettigan for Eunan McGinley (H-T), Conal Dunne for Odhran Doherty (44 mins), Neil Gallagher for Ryan Bradley (44 mins), Brendan Boyle for Rory Kavanagh (55 mins), Charlie Byrne for Kevin Rafferty (70 mins Yellow).
Referee: Gregory Walsh (Antrim).