Donegal chalked up their first win of the Allianz National Hurling League campaign with a comfortable win over Warwickshire at O’Donnell Park.
If finished: Donegal 5-18 , Warwickshire 0-17.
With a relegation play-off game between these two sides already certain, Donegal boss Mickey McCann made several changes for this contest with a number of fringe players getting a good run out.
Indeed, there was the rare spectacle of seeing six Donegal clubs represented in the starting fifteen.
And they acquitted themselves well in what turned out to be a comfortable victory against a Warwickshire outfit that travelled without a few of their regulars.
Indeed, Donegal will be odds-on to win the play-off when the sides meet again next weekend, and that will preserve their status in the fourth tier of hurling.
Paddy Hannigan opened the scoring from play before Warwickshire responded with two frees from their key player John Collins, whose tally was 12 points.
But Donegal were back in the lead on seven minutes as Kevin Kealy cut through the visiting defence and although his shot was partially stopped by goalkeeper Phil Crean he was unable to prevent it from reaching the back of the net.
Collins, from play, raised a white flag for Warwickshire before Lee Henderson, Ronan McDermott and Aidan Rooney then fired over points to extend the lead out to 1-4 to 0-3 with 15 minutes on the clock.
Henderson, Ronan McDermott and Kealy all pointed before Hannigan got the second goal, managing to succeed with his second shot after the first one was blocked by Crean.
Ciaran Finn then landed a delightful long range point before Kealy produced a lovely strike to find the top corner of the net with his second goal to make it 3-8 to 0-3.
The half concluded with Ian Dwyer pulling back a point for the visitors before Henderson pegged over another free to leave Donegal ahead by 3-9 to 0-4.
The second half saw a similar pattern with Donegal totally dictating matters.
Collins got a free and a 65 but a Henderson goal and points from Rooney, Ciaran Matthewson, Henderson and Ryan Hilferty saw Donegal holding a 4-13 to 0-6 advantage with 45 minutes played.
Warwickshire’s cause was not helped by the sending off of Joe McDermott for a rash challenge on Mark Callaghan.
Ronan McDermott cut through the tiring Warwickshire defence to rattle home the fifth goal three minutes later.
Henderson added another point before Warwickshire scored six points in a row, five from Collins and one from Dwyer to make it Donegal 5-14 to 0-12 with 13 minutes left.
Henderson and Hannigan scored to stop the mini-revival and Donegal were in full command in the closing stages.
Warwickshire’s concluding points came from Collins and Dwyer.
Donegal’s scoring spree ended with points from Hannigan and substitute Jimmy Deward.
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