Gallagher on song for Donegal in derby day win
Donegal 0-11 Fermanagh 1-05
There was a time when Donegal looked on Fermanagh as an irritating smaller brother who was sometimes capable of delivering the odd unexpected knock-out blow.
Those days are long gone but an experimental Tir Chonail outfit ensured that this neighbourly encounter was mainly men against boys.
The scoreline flatters the losers hugely as Donegal managed to hit a staggering 14 wides in conditions that were at times horrendous.
But the Ernesiders badly missed the combative qualities of the resting Martin McGrath and Barry Owens as only Erne Gaels full-forward Seamus Ryder looked capable of causing Donegal any bother.
Ryder was one of four players from neighbouring Belleek who lined out for a Fermanagh side who showed little of their characteristic derby spirit.
Their neighbour and Donegal veteran Brian Roper crowned a memorable day by captaining his county on his record-breaking 147th appearance.
The winners were well worth their half-time lead of 0-6 0-3 and Fermanagh’s only score of note came through Ryder, who cleverly turned Eamon McGee for a well struck left-footed point.
Odhran Doherty, Michael Doherty, Kevin McMenamin and the outstanding Gallagher got the Donegal scores as the gale howled from the sea towards the border, in Father Tierney Park.
But the foundations for victory were laid early in the second-half when Gallagher spurred his troops into two unanswered points to put Donegal ahead by 0-8 0-3 .
A clinically struck goal from Ryder was Fermanagh’s only reply but they failed to make any real impression-hitting only three scores from play.
Donegal: P Durcan, J Gallagher, E McGee, PMcDaid, C Byrne, B Monaghan, F McGlynn, N Gallagher,(0-1) B Boyle, O Doherty,(0-2), C Dunne,(0-1) B Roper,(0-1) K McMenamin,(0-4), M Doherty,(0-1) L Thompson. Subs: K Rafferty(0-1) for B Boyle( 46), R Wherity for O Doherty(54), C Bonner for B Roper(55) S Griffin for L Thompson(65),
Fermanagh: R Gallagher, H Brady, S Lyons, P Johnston, R Johnston, S McDermott, T McElroy, R Carson, S O’Brien, C McElroy, R Keean,(0-1), E Maguire, J Connolly, S Ryder,(1-1) D Kille(0-3f). Subs: J Sherry for Keenan(47), P Cadden for E Maguire(55)
Referee: S McNamee(Tyrone)