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Michael Murphy saves Donegal

Donegal 1-12, Meath 1-12

Staff Reporter

Michael Murphy saved Donegal's bacon as he scored a stunning free with the last kick of the game to deny Meath a surprise win.

Murphy delightfully curled over from close to the sideline to preserve Tir Chonaill's unbeaten record.

Dogged Meath started brightly and, with Shane O'Rourke lording the midfield, raced 0-6 to 0-1 ahead.

Frank McGlynn netted in the 28th minute, a cheeky chip or fluky finish depending on your viewpoint, to haul Donegal back into it, only for Michael Newman to net at the other end, giving Meath a 1-7 to 1-5 advantage at the short whistle.

Newman and Brian McMahon pushed Meath further ahead, but Donegal hit back. Neil Gallagher came off the bench to steady the ship and, with Christy Toye industrious, they came back to edge ahead.

Newman and Graham Reilly both looked to have won it for Meath in the closing stages, but Murphy levelled each time.

DONEGAL: P Durcan; E McGee, N McGee, F McGlynn (1-0); A Thompson, L McLoone R McHugh; R Kavanagh, M McElhinney; M McHugh, C Toye (0-2), O MacNiallais; C McFadden (0-3, 2f), M Murphy (0-6, 6f), D Molloy (0-1). Subs: N Gallagher for Kavanagh (43), D O'Connor for Molloy (43), K Lacey for R.McHugh (48, black card), David Walsh for MacNiallais (58).

MEATH: P O'Rourke; M Burke, K Reilly, E Harrington; S Curran (0-1), D Keogan, D Carroll (0-1); S O'Rourke (0-1, 1f), B Menton; A Tormey (0-2), D Tobin, D McDonagh; B McMahon (0-1), S Bray, M Newman (1-4, 3f). Subs: P Harnan for Tobin (h/t), G Reilly (0-1) for Bray (h/t), S Kenny for Curran (52), E Wallace (0-1) for McMahon (52), M O'Sullivan for Tormey (62), D Bray for Menton (69 mins).

Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).

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