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Donegal's class of 2017 show their pedigree against Cavan

Cavan 0-11 Donegal 1-16

Donegal manager Rory Gallagher
Donegal manager Rory Gallagher

By Chris McNulty

Donegal might be in 'transition', but the spring hasn't been at all bad for Rory Gallagher's team, who are now all-but safe in Division 1.

It would take a shock sequence of results now for the Tir Chonaill men to get mired in the relegation quicksand and an impressive attacking display on Saturday night most definitely caught the eye.

Donegal have bid adieu to nine players from their 2016 panel, but the class of 2017 are managing just fine so far - and they certainly could have been out of sight by half-time on Saturday night.

Cavan lost Killian Clarke after he was shown a red card on 32 minutes and it felt like a deception that they were within two points, 0-6 to 0-4, at the changeover.

Within three minutes of the restart Donegal had taken a firm command of proceedings, with Hugh McFadden slamming over a wonderful point and Eoin McHugh finishing a striking goal.

"We're making progress," Gallagher declared after his side's impressive performance.

"We felt that it was going to be an important night.

"It was a good performance from the boys.

"There were a lot of positives we can take from it going forward."

Ciaran Thompson kicked five points in another fine outing for Donegal's impressive young guns, while Caolan Ward and Eoghan Ban Gallagher continue to improve at this level of the game.

Clarke was sent off for a wild and reckless challenge on Gallagher and Donegal then threatened to run away with it when they struck gold in the 38th minute.

Raymond Galligan's kick-out was criminally fired into Michael Murphy's paws and McHugh then slotted home after a neat move.

For as long as they could, Cavan stayed in touch, but Donegal soon pressed their feet down and hit eight points in the final quarter.

Gallagher said: "We haven't scored heavily enough in the last couple of years.

"We have come up just a bit short in Ulster finals by not putting the ball over the bar enough.

"We have to make sure that that remains a big focus."

Cavan: R Galligan; F Reilly, P Faulkener, K Brady; M Reilly, C Brady (0-1), G Smith; K Clarke, T Corr; M Argue, D McVeety (0-2), C Madden (0-2); N Clerkin, G McKiernan (0-3, 1f), S Johnston (0-3, 3f). Subs: R Dunne for Corr (15), S Murray for Brady (h-t), N Murray for Madden (h-t), C Mackey for Johnston (45), J Dillon for F.Reilly (57), J McCutcheon for Brady (59).

Donegal: MA McGinley; P McGrath, N McGee, E Gallagher; C Ward, F McGlynn (0-1), E McHugh (1-1); J McGee, M Murphy (0-3, 3f); M Carroll, C Thompson (0-5, 1f), R McHugh (0-1); M O'Reilly, H McFadden (0-1), D O'Connor. Subs: J Brennan (0-3) for O'Connor (46), D McLaughlin for Carroll (47), M Langan for J.McGee (49), E Doherty for McFadden (55), M McHugh (0-1) for O'Reilly (65), P Brennan for Gallagher (68).

Referee: C Lane (Cork).

Belfast Telegraph


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