GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
Dublin 1-15 Donegal 1-14: Sky Blues dig deep for Croke Park win
Last Updated: 23/02/20 7:27am
A second-half turnaround saw Dublin continue their unbeaten start to the National League, as they overcame Donegal 1-15 to 1-14.
Dessie Farrell's side are growing a habit of simply refusing to lose, no matter how grave the situation.
After rescuing results from losing positions against Kerry, Mayo and Monaghan in recent weeks, they repeated the trick at Croke Park on Saturday night as they came back from a five-point deficit to overcome the Ulster champions.
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There was drama within minutes of throw-in. Michael Murphy could have considered himself lucky to only be shown a yellow card by referee Maurice Deegan, after the Glenswilly man caught David Byrne with a high challenge under the Hogan Stand.
However, Donegal weren't going to let that stall any momentum.
Shortly afterwards, the ball was in the back of the Dublin net, with Hugh McFadden storming up the field and burying it past Evan Comerford.
Tír Chonaill kicked on, bursting into a 1-5 to 0-3 lead with Murphy and Jamie Brennan keeping the scoreboard ticking over.
It could have been worse from a Dublin perspective, were it not for an impressive save from Comerford. The Ballymun Kickhams goalkeeper closed down Ryan McHugh and blocked his shot, but Brennan collected the scraps and fisted over for a point.
However, the Sky Blues pushed back in the second quarter, with Ciarán Kilkenny and Seán Bugler among those to help reduce the deficit to 1-6 to 0-7 at the break.
Declan Bonner's side enjoyed a bright start to the second half, with Ciarán Thompson and Peadar Mogan adding a point apiece.
However, the tide was turning and Dublin were applying pressure to their visitors all over the field.
Brian Fenton kicked two points in as many minutes, moments before an excellent Comerford save from a fierce Paddy McBrearty shot.
In the 60th minute, Colm Basquel levelled it. Dublin were enjoying all the momentum, and were beginning to get the breaks.
Four minutes from time, the turning point arrived.
Brian Howard took on an ambitious shot from close to the Hogan Stand. Donegal 'keeper Shaun Patton looked to deal with the dropping ball like he had done so often throughout the game. However, he fumbled it in the air, and Paul Mannion was on hand to palm it into the net.
From there, it was a mere question of the Dubs closing it out, and there's no team better for such a task as David Byrne popped up with a late point which proved crucial.
Despite a McBrearty score, Bonner's side couldn't find a leveller, as John Small and Michael Murphy were shown late reds for second bookings.
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)
Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 0-4 (0-3 frees), Paul Mannion 1-0, Brian Fenton 0-2, Brian Howard 0-2, Ciarán Kilkenny 0-2 (0-1 mark), Seán Bugler 0-2, David Byrne 0-1, Colm Basquel 0-1, Cormac Costello 0-1.
Scorers for Donegal: Michael Murphy 0-5 (0-2 frees, 0-1 mark), Hugh McFadden 1-1, Peadar Mogan 0-2, Ciarán Thompson 0-2 (0-1 free), Jamie Brennan 0-2, Michael Langan 0-1, Paddy McBrearty 0-1.
1. Evan Comerford
2. Eoin Murchan
3. David Byrne
4. Michael Fitzsimons
5. Niall Scully
6. John Small
7. Cillian O'Shea
8. Brian Fenton
9. James McCarthy
10. Brian Howard
11. Ciarán Kilkenny
12. Seán Bugler
13. Paul Mannion
14. Kevin McManamon
15. Dean Rock
Cormac Costello for Craig Diaz (half-time)
Colm Basquel for Kevin McManamon (54th minute)
Aaron Byrne for Seán Bugler (68th minute)
Paddy Small for Dean Rock (73rd minute)
1. Shaun Patton
2. Caolan Ward
3. Neil McGee
4. Eoghan Bán Gallagher
5. Ryan McHugh
22. Daire Ó Baoill
7. Odhrán McFadden Ferry
8. Hugh McFadden
9. Michael Langan
10. Paul Brennan
11. Ciarán Thompson
12. Caolan McGonigle
20. Peadar Mogan
14. Michael Murphy
15. Jamie Brennan
Niall O'Donnell for Paul Brennan (47th minute)
Paddy McBrearty for Caolan McGonigle (53rd minute)
Brendan McCole for Caolan Ward (55th minute)
Eoin McHugh for Jamie Brennan (62nd minute)