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Donegal fire statement of intent to main rivals

By Chris McNulty

Laois 1-09 Donegal 2-19: Christy Toye returned to inspire Donegal to a facile win over Laois as Jim McGuinness' side made an impressive statement in this Division 2 opener.

Toye's last start for Donegal was in March 2012 and, bar a McKenna Cup cameo, this was his first slice of action since the All-Ireland final later that year.

Yesterday, Toye was immense, having played a part in all of Donegal's 1-6 tally in the first half and he left in the 53rd minute to a standing ovation from the away supporters.

Odhrán MacNiallais palmed home their opening goal in the 12th minute following an unselfish off-load by Anthony Thompson.

Frank McGlynn and Colm McFadden had chances of a second but were denied and Donegal led 1-6 to 0-5 at the break.

70 seconds into the second half, McFadden scored a brilliant goal, smashing home in style from Leo McLoone's pass.

Donegal held Laois scoreless for a 38-minute spell and the visitors hit 1-10 during a time when the hosts had Denis Booth red carded for a high challenge on Mark McHugh.

Donegal ended with 10 different scorers, including debutant Hugh McFadden, who hit a late brace.

"We are happy with the two points and to have knocked up a good score," said Donegal boss Jim McGuinness.

"Some of our older players are coming back and we want to get them up to Championship level during this league campaign."

LAOIS: G Brody; D Booth, M Timmons, P O'Leary (0-1); D Strong, P McMahon, A Ryan; K Meaney, J O'Loughlin (1-1); J Finn, D Kingston (0-1, 1f), B Sheehan; R Munnelly (0-4, 2f), E O'Carroll (0-1), D Conway (0-1). Subs: P Cahillane for Finn (h-t), P Begley for Ryan (h-t), R Kehoe for Carroll (47), S Attride for Sheehan (57), E Lowry for Attride (70).

DONEGAL: P Durcan; R McHugh, N McGee, K Lacey; F McGlynn, L McLoone, A Thompson (0-1); R, M McElhinney (0-2); M McHugh (0-1), C Toye (0-1), O MacNiallais (1-1); C McFadden (1-3, 2f), M Murphy (0-6, 2f, 2 '45), D Molloy (0-1). Subs: Declan Walsh for Lacey (42), H McFadden (0-2) for Kavanagh (47), P McBrearty (0-1) for Molloy (47), M O'Reilly for Toye (53), E Doherty for McGlynn (64), S McLaughlin for MacNiallais (67).

Referee: C Lane (Cork).

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