Allianz National Football League 2017 – Weekend Roundup

March 20th, 2017

Allianz Football League Division 1

Donegal 0-12 Tyrone 0-6

Donegal moved joint second in the Allianz League Division one table when they ended the unbeaten record of neighbours Tyrone with a commanding display in MacCumhaill Park Ballybofey on Saturday night.

The hosts were the better side throughout and were full value for their victory.

It was the home side who led 0-9 to 0-4 at the break as they laid the foundations for their victory playing superb football in testing conditions. Tyrone opened the scoring in the second minute with a close in free from team captain Sean Cavanagh but the superb Ciaran Thompson soon had the sides level with a brilliant effort from play from out on the right wing.

Thompson then edged the home side in front with another well taken point before centre half back Frank McGlynn ventured forward to make it 0-3 to 0-1 in the 9th minute. Mark Bradley then sold a dummy before laying the ball out for wing half back Rory Brennan to split the posts but Eoin McHugh soon left two between the sides again.

A long range Peter Harte free narrowed the gap to the minimum again before the same player levelled matters with a terrific effort from play in the 20th minute following a surging forty metre run.

Moments later Donegal broke up field at speed but with a goal on the cards Ryan McHugh elected to drive the ball over the bar for a 0-5 to 0-4 advantage. Michael Murphy then landed a wonderful 47m free before Donegal corner back Paddy McGrath got a fine point from out on the right wing.

It was all Donegal at this stage as they retained possession well with midfielder Hugh McFadden pointing from forty metres out. The score of the game though came deep into injury time when Thompson hit an outstanding point with the outside of his boot from out on the left wing for his third of the contest.

Cavanagh had the opening point of the second half for the visitors but that was as good as it got for them. Eoin McHugh, Ryan McHugh, McFadden and substitute Cian Mulligan all kicked points for the dominant hosts.

They held possession brilliantly and left their opponents chasing shadows although Tyrone didn’t help their cause by kicking twelve wides. A Cavanagh free was all that Tyrone had to show for almost forty minutes football as Donegal stretched their unbeaten record at Ballybofey to 17 games.


Cavan 1-14 Mayo 0-15

Cavan boosted their survival hopes with a wonderful win over Mayo in Castlebar on Sunday afternoon, going in at the break trailing by a single point they were by far the better side in the second half and ran out two point winners against last year’s beaten All Ireland finalists.

When the game was there to be won Cavan dug deepest and led by the inspirational Gearoid McKiernan who kicked 1-5 they strangled the Mayo attack and broke from defence with power and purpose in the closing 35 minutes.

Mayo went into an early two point lead through scores from Tom Parsons and Andy Moran, McKiernan got the Cavan scores rolling with a well hit free, before two more Mayo scores put them back in control of the game after 15 minutes.

The sides traded scores with McKiernan and Dara McVeety (twice) hitting the target for Cavan and Moran, Kevin McLoughlin, Conor O’Shea and Danny Kirby kicking points for Mayo to put them into a 0-9 to 0-4 lead with two minutes left before the half time whistle.

Two minutes into injury time the vital score of the day came. Killian Clarke climbed high to win a mark from a kick-out and set in motion a move that saw Martin Reilly playing a defence splitting pass that ended up with McKiernan finding the back of the net from close range to send his side in trailing by just one point at the break.

Mayo pushed that lead out to two second after the restart thanks to a Kirby score, but Cavan hit four points on the bounce through Rory Dunne, Conor Madden, McKiernan and Tomas Corr. Cavan were hassling and harrying the Mayo attack forcing them to turnover the ball and setting Cavan off on blistering counter attacks.

Both sides swapped a number of points each with Andy Moran and two monsters from Lee Keegan finding the range for Mayo and Martin Reilly and Corr hitting the target for the visitors to leave the score all square at 0-14 to 1-11 with 15 minutes left.

Shane Nally edged Mayo back in front for the final time on 58 minutes, but Cavan came on strong again and kicked the final three points of the game, through a McKiernan free, a long range effort from McVeety and substitute John McCutcheon.

Cavan’s defence was top class in the second half, and Mayo’s lack of shooters from range cost them as they were forced to constantly recycle the ball over and back outside of scoring range. Cillian O’Connor was held scorless for the day and he ended up on the losing side to a team that contained his first cousin Paul O’Connor, who came off the bench for the Breffni men in the closing stages.


Monaghan 2-17 Roscommon 1-13

Monaghan moved into a four-way tie at the top of the Allianz Football League Division One with a comfortable win over Roscommon in Inniskeen.

Monaghan led by four points at the end of an entertaining first half, before goals by Owen Duffy and Jack McCarron sealed a return to winning ways for the hosts.

McCarron top-scored with 1-7 as he continued his impressive form. Roscommon battled gamely throughout, but their losing run continued and a return to Division Two is now in store for Kevin McStay’s side.

Monaghan started brightly with points from Conor McManus and Jack McCarron (two), while McManus also had a shot at goal saved by Darren O’Malley, before Ciaráin Murtagh got Roscommon off the mark.

Dessie Ward marked his first league start for Monaghan with a 10th minute point and Darren Hughes added his name to the list of scorers, but a brace of frees by Murtagh kept Roscommon in touch. McCarron and McManus moved the hosts four clear, only for Roscommon to fight back to draw level thanks to scores from Murtagh (two), Conor Devaney and Seán Mullooly.

McCarron ended 11 scoreless minutes for Monaghan and McManus soon converted a free and although Dónie Smith responded, a Shane Carey point and a pair of McCarron frees made it 0-12 to 0-8 in Monaghan’s favour at half-time.

McCarron picked up where he left off with the first point of the second half, before McManus and Murtagh also added to their tallies from frees. Dónie Smith got Roscommon back within four, but McCarron pounced on a loose ball to find the net at the end of the third quarter, following a strong run by Darren Hughes.

Substitute Owen Duffy and Fintan Kelly added points for Monaghan, before the former palmed home the second goal at the end of a well-worked move involving McManus and another sub, Conor McCarthy. Ward opened up a 12-point gap, before Enda Smith got one back and a quickly-taken free by substitute Ultan Harney set up Tadhg O’Rourke for a consolation goal.


Allianz Football League Division 2

Down 0-10 Kildare 2-09

Fermanagh 0-18 Clare 1-10

Derry 2-15 Galway 5-15

Allianz Football League Division 3

Armagh 3-15 Louth 0-10

Antrim 1-10 Laois 0-11