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Donegal's MacNiallais inspires first triumph for Rory Gallagher

Donegal 2-16 - QUB 1-08

By Chris McNulty

Rory Gallagher got his first win as Donegal manager yesterday as they soared to victory over Queen's.

First-half goals by Martin O'Reilly and Eamon Ward had the deal sealed by the close of the first half on a day when some of Tír Chonaill's leading lights returned to action.

Odhrán MacNiallais landed six points in a man of the match display at centre-forward and Christy Toye put in a powerful shift at midfield.

MacNiallais came to prominence last year in the McKenna Cup and featured in every game in 2014. The Gaoth Dobhair man fired over a 45 and a long-range free in torrid conditions in Ballybofey.

Donegal broke for an early goal, O'Reilly smashing to the top corner in the seventh minute after being teed up by Daniel McLaughlin.

Queen's stunned Donegal when Ciaran O'Hanlon punished slack marking to fire past Michael Boyle for a goal five minutes later, but James McCartan's students couldn't kick on.

MacNiallais scored two inside a minute and with the last play of the first half, Donegal struck gold for a second time.

The man on the end of the move was full-back Ward, a 33-year-old native of Clontibret, now playing for Glenswilly, who had his first taste of inter-county football seven days earlier.

Ward's finish was precise, rolling to the far corner.

Donegal ended the day with 10 different scorers on what was a useful day out for Gallagher.

"They're all putting in a shift and we're trying to give them all a bit of game time," Gallagher commented. "We're hoping those lads will improve as part of the set-up," he added.

Belfast Telegraph


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