*Gary Brennan. Photograph: Martin Connolly
2012 All-Ireland football champions, Donegal clung on for victory in the opening round of the Allianz National Football League Division 2 against Clare on Sunday afternoon.
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
Donegal were made sweat till the end by Clare to put two points on the board and make the long journey home that bit shorter.
It was tit for tat inside the opening exchanges with Declan Bonner’s man taking the lead first. Dermot Coughlan in his debut answered back as did his clubmate Keelan Sexton to put Clare ahead on five minutes. Donegal increased their lead to three points eleven minutes in but the Banner kept coming back for more with David Tubridy equalising on thirty three minutes. Two quick scores via Jason McGee and Niall O’Donnell put the visitors two clear at half-time.
Three scores on the trot from David Tubridy (x2) and Gary Brennan put Clare in the driving seat with forty one minutes on the clock. Donegal picked up their first score of the half five minutes later and three unanswered white flags.
A twenty three minute scoring drought in the second half for Colm Collins’ side was ended by Doonbeg’s David Tubridy, substitute Gavin Cooney put his name on the scoresheet shortly after to reduce the deficit to one. However, further scores including a Hugh McFadden effort from distance was enough to secure a three point win for Donegal.
Next Sunday, Clare face Armagh in the ‘neutral’ venue of Newry while Donegal host Meath on Saturday.