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Donegal give Kerry a fright while Derry flounder at home to Westmeath

 

By Declan Bogue

David Clifford - surely the most talked about underage footballer ever - made his debut for Kerry yesterday in a one-point win over Donegal in Killarney, scoring one point from a free, but setting up Stephen O'Brien for a goal in the 18th minute that ultimately led to the Kingdom getting off to an uncustomary decent start to the league.

Nathan Mullins, the Donegal recruit from Dublin club St Vincent's, marked his competitive debut with a red card for a kick at Brendan O'Sullivan that was picked up by an umpire, with the game finishing 2-18 to 3-14.

Monaghan showed their familiar traits in going down to Mayo in the league opener at Clones, going down 0-12 to 0-13.

A Paddy Durcan point in the final minute of stoppage time earned Stephen Rochford's men the points, with red cards for Ryan Wylie and Barry Kerry, along with a black card for Dermot Malone when Monaghan had used all their subs, left them with just 12 men on the pitch at the end.

In Division Two, it took a last-play effort from Bryan Magee to snatch a point for Cavan in their season opener away to Clare in Ennis.

After falling through the relegation trapdoor last season it appeared things were going to get off on a bum note for Mattie McGleenan's men when Keelan Sexton put the Banner in front almost at the death after leading 1-7 to 1-2 half-time lead.

However, 1-2 salvo in two minutes, capped by captain Dara McVeety's goal, rescued them.

In Division Three, Derry lost a chance to take a share of the spoils when they hosted Westmeath in Celtic Park, going down on a scoreline of 2-17 to 2-14.

In Damien McErlain's first game in charge, they ran up a decent score but question marks will be asked of the defence.

Westmeath had two goals in the opening three minutes on the board, the first arriving from Callum McCormack, the next a penalty from John Heslin.

Enda Lynn could have levelled it with an injury-time penalty, but spurned his chance.

In the basement division, Antrim can be happy with a solid showing when they accounted for Leitrim in Corrigan Park by double figures, 0-15 to 0-5.

The players were met before the game by former captain Anto Finnegan, suffering now from Motor Neuron Disease, and were suitably inspired to deliver a professional performance and get off to a decent start.

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