Sport

GAA round-up: Donegal squeeze past Roscommon

SportBy Sean McGoldrick
Michael Murphy of Donegal in action against Kevin Higgins of Roscommon
Michael Murphy of Donegal in action against Kevin Higgins of Roscommon

Monaghan footballers missed out on a chance to take outright leadership of Division 1 of the Allianz League when they were held to a draw by next-door neighbours Cavan in Castleblaney.

In a goalless, low-scoring encounter defences dominated and score were at a premium. The sides were level 0-7 each at the end of 70 minutes and four minutes of injury time failed to produce another score.

It was Cavan’s first point in the competition having returned to the top flight this season. Despite the draw Monaghan still share joint leadership of the division with Dublin and Tyrone.

Meanwhile, Donegal secured their first points of the season when a late rally at Dr Hyde Park gave them a one-point win over Roscommon. It was a poor result, however, for Kevin McStay’s side – his team are now pointless at the foot of Division 1.

A Ciaran Murtagh goal for the home side left them 1-7 to 0-7 ahead at the break. Donegal dominated the second period but Roscommon’s second goal scored four minutes from the end by Conor Devaney gave them a second chance.

But scoring only two points in the second half came back to haunt them. Donegal’s late rally saw them take their first win of the season with Marty O’Reilly levelling the game before Eoin McHugh struck the winning point in injury time.

Kildare are the pace setters in Division 2 after securing a crucial home win over Cork. They always looked the more likely side to win with the teams exchanging second-half goals through Ben McCormack for Kildare and Luke Connolly for the Rebels.

But Kildare held on to win by a comfortable six-point margin and they are now the only team in the division with a one hundred percent record after two rounds.

Down’s woes continued when despite a late rally they lost away to Clare, who are now joint second in the table alongside Galway.

Kevin Walsh’s side made their by now customary slow start and didn’t register their first score until the 17th minute against Fermanagh. Ultimately, though, they had too much fire power for Pete McGrath’s side.

The biggest winners of the day in Division 2, however, were Meath. 

After a hapless opening round effort at home against Kildare, the Royals took out their frustration on visitors Derry, hitting them for three goals and winning by 15 points. Of course, Derry were without the Slaughtneil players and could face a big battle to avoid dropping two divisions in two seasons.

Sligo were the stand out performers in Division 3 where they held out to secure an unexpected one-point win over All-Ireland semi-finalists Tipperary.

The visitors did the damage in the first half when goals from teenager Kyle Cawley – who later had to be replaced after picking up an injury – and Niall Murphy put them in commanding position at half time leading 2-9 to 0-8.

The dismissal of Jimmy Feehan on a second yellow card in the 45th minute didn’t help Tipp’s cause but they finally got motoring and a goal from All Star full forward Michael Quinlivan six minutes from the end cut the deficit to a point (2-14 to 1-13). But in a hectic finish Sligo held to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

Louth, though, are the outright leaders of the Division 3 after surviving a scare at home against Longford. There was controversy at the end of the game when referee Niall McKenna blew the final whistle after 73 minutes after it had been indicated there would be four minutes of injury time played.

Offaly had a comfortable home win over Antrim but the day’s most dramatic finish was reserved for the last match of the day between Armagh and Laois.

For the second match in a row Armagh got caught at the death and this home loss to Laois effectively scuppers their promotion ambitions.

While Niall Donoher scored an early goal for the visitors Armagh were in control until a Donie Kingston penalty revived Laois’ chances late on. Then in injury time Kingston kicked the equalising point before Darren Strong gave them the lead.

Laois’ Paul Kingston and Armagh’s Aidan Forker were then sent off before there were no further scores.

In Division 4 Wexford were given a scare by Leitrim in Carrick on Shannon before finally making use of the elements in the second half to squeeze out a two-point win and join Waterford – who beat Wicklow on Saturday night – at the top of the table.

London did cause an upset by beating Carlow while Westmeath got their promotion ambitions back on track with a nine-point win away against Limerick.

Results:

Allianz FL Division 1 round 2
Monaghan 0-7 Cavan 0-7 
Donegal 0-16 Roscommon 2-9 
Allianz FL Division 2 round 2
Clare 2-11 Down 0-10 
Galway 1-13 Fermanagh 0-10 
Kildare 1-14 Cork 1-8 
Meath 3-15 Derry 0-9
Allianz FL Division 3 round 2
Louth 0-11 Longford 0-10 
Sligo 2-14 Tipperary 1-16 
Offaly 0-23 Antrim 1-7
Laois 2-11 Armagh 0-16
Allianz FL Division 4 round 2
London 2-15, Carlow 0-16 
Westmeath 1-18 Limerick 0-12 
Wexford 0-16 Leitrim 0-14