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big victory Dublin take step towards Division One survival with crucial win against Donegal

Dublin 2-15 Donegal 2-11

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Brian Howard fields the ball against Donegal. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Brian Howard fields the ball against Donegal. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Brian Howard fields the ball against Donegal. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Dublin’s mission to retain their top-flight status will go the final day after they took a deserved win over fellow strugglers Donegal in Croke Park.

Dessie Farrell’s men were in control for large periods, even if they left a number of goal chances behind them, with the result meaning Donegal are also in the shake up for the drop.

Dublin had found themselves five in arrears at one stage in the first half. Paddy McBrearty was already causing problems for Dublin when the usually unshakeable Michael Fitzsimons lost his footing close to the Hill end.

McBrearty lined up a point attempt but his effort spun over the head of Michael Shiel, who had been a late replacement for Evan Comerford, and into the Dublin net. Donegal had their tails up now and a Michael Murphy free and another McBreaty score moved Donegal 1-4 to 0-2 clear on 16 minutes.

Despite the deficit, Dublin had looked dangerous in attack. Their first point came from Dean Rock but only after a Shaun Patton pulled off a decent save. But there was nothing Patton could do on 20 minutes when Niall Scully placed his shot in the bottom corner after a sweeping move that started when a ball hopped over Jamie Brennan’s head.

Donegal responded with an Aaron Doherty point but Dublin took charge from there. Scully saw an outrageous lob attempt fall just wide with Patton scrambling back towards his goal. Dublin were in total control now and they hit the last five points of the half to take a 1-8 to 1-5 lead in at the break.

The second half started slowly and didn’t see a score until the 43rd minute when Conor O’Donnell cut the gap to two, but Dublin were in charge and should have goaled when Brian Fenton hit the side netting from close range.

Brian Howard’s third point of the day put them five clear but with Murphy at full forward, Donegal carried more of a threat. And when he punched home Ryan McHugh’s centre, Donegal were only two in arrears heading down the home stretch.

Dublin retained their composure and completed the job when Mick Fitzsimons was fouled for a penalty, which Rock expertly converted.

SCORERS – Dublin: D Rock 1-5 (1-0 pen, 3f), C Costello, B Howard 0-3 each, N Scully 1-0, B Fenton 0-2, T Lahiff, S Bugler 0-1 each

Donegal: P McBrearty 1-6 (1f), M Murphy 1-1 (1f), C O’Donnell 0-2, R McHugh, A Doherty 0-1 each.

Dublin: M Shiel; M Fitzsimons, D Byrne, C Murphy; J McCarthy, J Cooper, R McDaid; B Fenton, T Lahiff; B Howard, S Bugler, N Scully; C Kilkenny, C Costello, D Rock SUBS: E Murchan for Cooper (52), L Gannon for Scully (64), B O’Leary for Costello (67), C O’Shea for McCarthy (72).

Donegal: S Patton; C Ward, S McMenamin, B McCole; R McHugh, O McFadden Ferry, E Ban Gallagher; H McFadden, J McGee; C O’Donnell, A Doherty, P Mogan; P McBrearty, M Murphy, J Brennan SUBS: S O’Donnell for Brennan (50), E O’Donnell for Doherty (56), J McKelvey for McHugh (60), P Brennan for McFadden (62), A Wright for Kilkenny (70), N McGee for McMenamin (70),

Referee: C Reilly (Meath)

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