Donegal Use Experience To Leave Ennis Victorious

Pic © Clare FM

National Football League – Sunday, 27th January 2019 – Cusack Park

Donegal 0-16 Clare 0-13

Clare’s National Football League campaign began with defeat to promotion favourites Donegal in Ennis. 


Colm Collins’ team went 23 minutes without scoring during the second half as the Tir Conaill men took advantage to overturn a one point deficit. 

The neutrals were certainly enjoying the entertainment in a first half that witnessed 18 scores. 

Michael Langan opened for Donegal but Clare responded to overturn the deficit as Gary Brennan split the posts before Keelan Sexton found the target. 

While Clare contributed some great moments in the first 35 minutes, they were also guilty of their own undoing as they conceded possession to the Tir Conaill men. 

Beforehand, Sexton came close to a goal following Cathal O’Connor’s pass. 

On eight minutes, Langan restored parity before Ciaran Thompson kicked two inside 60 seconds.  When Eoghan Ban Gallagher split the posts on 11 minutes, Donegal were 0-5 to 0-2 ahead. 

But Declan Bonner’s men couldn’t hold their advantage and Clare eventually reeled them back in.  Dean Ryan and Brennan traded scores with two Langan frees before Dermot Coughlan and David Tubridy left it 0-7 to 0-6. 

Jamie Brennan restored Donegal’s two-point lead but two more Tubridy specials levelled affairs on 33 minutes. 

But Clare’s hard work was undone by lapses of concentration before half-time.  Jason McGee pointed on 35 minutes but from the resulting kick out, Donegal won the ball again and Niall O’Donnell punished the home side making it 0-10 to 0-8 at half-time. 

However, Clare came out of the traps quickest upon the restart as Tubridy continued building his impressive tally with another brace to level affairs. 

And when Gary Brennan’s shot rattled off the crossbar but went over for a point, Clare were 0-11 to 0-10 ahead on 41 minutes. 

Goals proved elusive for the hosts as Pearse Lillis was also denied also saw an effort just go wide in the closing stages.  But it would be the 64th minute before Clare registered again. 

Donegal used their experience to take control and Jason McGee, Caolan McGonagle and a Jamie Brennan brace put them 0-14 to 0-11 up. 

Tubridy and Gavin Cooney reduced arrears to the minimum as nearly 10 minutes of added time was played.  But Clare couldn’t get the score to ensure a share of the spoils.  Hugh McFadden and McGee ensured the visitors began with victory.

Scorers – Clare: David Tubridy 0-6 (three frees), Gary Brennan 0-3, Dermot Coughlan 0-1, Keelan Sexton 0-1 (free), Dean Ryan 0-1, Gavin Cooney 0-1.

Scorers – Donegal: Michael Langan 0-4 (all frees), Jamie Brennan 0-3, Jason McGee 0-3, Ciaran Thompson 0-2, Eoghan Ban Gallagher 0-1, Niall O’Donnell 0-1, Caolan McGonagle 0-1, Hugh McFadden 0-1.

Clare: Robert Eyres; Kevin Hartnett, Cillian Brennan, Gordon Kelly; Dean Ryan, Aaron Fitzgerald, Eoghan Collins; Gary Brennan, Cathal O’Connor; Cian O’Dea, Jamie Malone, Dermot Coughlan; Kieran Malone, Keelan Sexton, David Tubridy.

Subs used: Pearse Lillis for E Collins (47 mins), Sean Collins for Malone (53 mins), Gavin Cooney for Coughlan (61 mins).

Donegal: Shaun Patton; Conor Morrison, Caolan Ward, Brendan McCole; Paul Brennan, Eamon Doherty, Ryan McHugh; Hugh McFadden, Michael Langan; Niall O’Donnell, Ciaran Thompson, Caolan McGonagle; Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Jason McGee, Jamie Brennan.