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Wednesday 18 October 2017

donegal RATINGS

PAUL DURCAN: Suffered some early kickout woes, losing six of his first nine restarts, but then his deliveries improved vastly and so did his statistics. His point-blank save from Diarmuid Connolly - with Donegal four down - was a match-turner. RATING 7

NEIL McGEE: A typically rock-solid showing from a defender in All Star terrain. Limited Bernard Brogan to a brace from play, but gets docked a mark for his needless block-off on Jonny Cooper earning a 58th minute black card. RATING 7

ÉAMONN McGEE: Excelled at getting a hand or leg or some other body part in the way to disrupt Eoghan O'Gara, who was gone after 48 minutes. RATING 8

PADDY McGRATH: Another defender who dispatched his man to the bench, scoreless. Save for one slippery run which set up the Connolly goal chance, Cormac Costello never made any inroads - but McGrath rightly earned black for a blatant late drag-down on Kevin McManamon. RATING 7

ANTHONY THOMPSON: Suffered a torrid first half chasing the elusive Diarmuid Connolly, but then left his own indelible imprint by ghosting forward to tee up Ryan McHugh's vital second goal. RATING 6

KARL LACEY: Not quite the dynamic presence of old, with injury issues perhaps partly to blame. On the plus side, he calmly slotted Donegal's second point when his team was creaking, but conceded a couple of points to Alan Brogan in a duel that broke even. RATING 7

FRANK McGLYNN: Another half-back who endured a horror first half, paying the price for Paul Flynn's exquisite shooting from distance - cue 0-4 from play. The 2012 All Star steadied on the restart, though, and made a lung-busting run to finish off the move for Donegal's tenth point. RATING 6

RORY KAVANAGH: Spent a majority of his time around the middle, delivering a solid if unspectacular shift. Forced three converted frees and sent in the speculative delivery that led to Donegal's first goal. Hit two wides, one an over-hit pass. Replaced on the hour mark, his job well done. RATING 7

ODHRÁN Mac NIALLAIS: Donegal's most impressive first half performer. Played a pivotal role in their second quarter comeback, scoring one point, setting up another for Michael Murphy and being fouled for a Colm McFadden free. Less prominent on the restart, but still showed great awareness with the final pass for McFadden's goal. RATING 8

DAVID WALSH: An 11th hour call-up but never justified his promotion, epitomised by one early turnover. Lasted just 27 minutes. RATING 5

LEO McLOONE: Another player who has an awful lot more to give. Cleanly caught one Stephen Cluxton kickout but had no discernible impact during the comeback. Replaced after 43 minutes. RATING 5

RYAN McHUGH: Man of the match. Saw off Young Footballer of the Year Jack McCaffrey in the first half, then started making inroads on Nicky Devereux. Finished as an unlikely top-scorer, with 2-2 from play. RATING 9

COLM McFADDEN: Initial efforts were in keeping with his misfiring summer, but the hero of 2012 stuck to his task and was eventually rewarded. Teed up McHugh's first goal; opted for a safety-first fisted point on the restart; then calmly rounded Cluxton for his goal, a right-footed collector's item. RATING 7

MICHAEL MURPHY: Not foot-perfect but still a hugely influential presence. Nailed an acutely angled pressure free when his team trailed by five. Missed a point 'sitter' by undercooking his shot but recovered immediately to score. His knock-down into the path of Neil Gallagher, leading to goal number three, was simply sublime. RATING 8

NEIL GALLAGHER: Roamed everywhere between midfield and the inside line, to mostly telling effect. By our count he won four kickouts and was at the genesis of two goalscoring chances, resulting in 1-1. RATING 8

SUBS

CHRISTY TOYE: First sub in and made an immediate impression, setting up a McHugh point. RATING 7

PADDY McBREARTY: Dropped yesterday but left his All-Ireland calling card with Donegal's last two points, both superbly executed, while creating another for McGlynn. RATING 8

DECLAN WALSH: No obvious impact but the game was already all but won. RATING 6

MARTIN McELHINNEY: Replaced Kavanagh on the hour, and little chance to shine. RATING 6

DARRACH O'CONNOR: Ditto. RATING 6

MARTIN O'REILLY: Not on long enough.

COMPILED BY - FRANK ROCHE

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