Dubs Share Allianz NFL Title With Kerry after Donegal Victory

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Dublin finish the Allianz NFL with another victory as they look ahead to the start of the 2021 Championship Season

Paddy Small - Allianz NFL

Dublin 1-18
Donegal 1-14

Kingspan Breffni Park

Paddy Small and Cormac Costello lead Dublin’s scoring last night as they eased past Donegal in the Allianz NFL Semi Final. With Kerry hammering Tyrone earlier in the evening, it draws a line under the competition with the All Football Ireland Champions and the Kingdom sharing the spoils in Division 1.

Despite Donegal registering the last 1-02 of the game, the clock ran out with Dublin doing the leg work to score the win. They showed that patience needed to open up Donegal, penetrating a touhg defensive style.

For most watching, this really did feel like a challenge game, with nothing at stake only pride at the final whistle, and many might feel it was better championship preparation for Donegal than Dublin.

A lot of long build play with plenty of bodies being thrown behind the ball when required. The task, to break down the opponents defence. Ultimately Dublin’s patience prevailed and they eventually gained control late in the opening half. A Caolan McGonagle point gave Donegal a 0-05 to 0-04 lead before the first half water break, but Dublin rose to the challenge in the second quarter. The boys in blue had relied on Cormac Costello’s dead ball skills to keep them in contention up to then.

Ciaran Kilkenny pointed on 27 minutes to give Dublin a slender lead. But moments later Paddy Small split the Donegal Defence in two, scoring a beautifully placed goal. At the break the men from the capital were ahead by 1-08 to 0-07.

String Second Half Opener Saw Dublin Over The Line

More light between the sides was quickly stretched as Dublin relled off three scores on teh restart. Sean McMahon, Brian Fenton and Kilkenny all finding the target. Paddy McBrearty kept the scoreboard ticking for the Tyrconnell Men with six scores of his own. Oisin Gallen had a chance to pull the gap together but Evan Comerford stopped the low shot from the net in the 52nd.

Donegal finally broke the deadlock with a few minutes remaining on the clock with Eohgan McGettigan finding the net, something positive for the travelling fans to absorb. But the Allianz NFL title belongs to both Dublin and Kerry in a strange twist in the tale.

Scorers for Dublin:

Cormac Costello 0-06 (5f, 1 ’45)
Paddy Small 1-03 (1 mark)
Con O’Callaghan 0-03
Ciaran Kilkenny 0-02
Sean McMahon 0-01
Brian Fenton 0-01
Brian Howard 0-01
Aaron Byrne 0-01

Scorers for Donegal:

Patrick McBrearty 0-06 (2f, 1 mark)
Eoghan McGettigan 1-01
Caolan McGonagle 0-02
Michael Langan 0-02
Brendan McCole 0-01
Odhrán Mac Niallais 0-01
Niall O’Donnell 0-01

Dublin:

Evan Comerford
Michael Fitzsimons
David Byrne
Sean McMahon
James McCarthy
Eoin Murchan
Brian Howard
Brian Fenton
Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne
Paddy Small
Ciaran Kilkenny
Niall Scully
Colm Basquel
Con O’Callaghan
Cormac Costello

Dublin Substitutes:

Eric Lowndes for Murchan (HT)
Sean Bulger for Basquel (50)
Tom Lahiff for Ó Cofaigh Byrne (55)
Aaron Byrne for Scully (55)
Conor McHugh for Kilkenny (62)
Philly McMahon for Fitzsimons (62)
Shane Carthy for Small (68)

Donegal

Shaun Patton
Eoin McHugh
Stephen McMenamin
Brendan McCole
Ethan O’Donnell
Ryan McHugh
Odhrán McFadden-Ferry
Caolan McGonagle
Michael Langan
Ciaran Thompson
Odhrán Mac Niallais
Hugh McFadden
Patrick McBrearty
Niall O’Donnell
Oisin Gallen

Donegal Substitutions:

Conor O’Donnell for Mac Niallais (29)
Caolan Ward for McMenamin (HT)
Eoghan McGettigan for Gallen (55)
Eunan Doherty for McFadden-Ferry (55)
Daire O Baoill for N O’Donnell (57)
Jason McGee for McFadden (57)
Tony McCleneghan for E McHugh (64)