From the heels of a Donegal victory in the Ulster final, Donegal/New York had their first win in the senior championship with a deserved victory over table toppers Cork.
With five of their six forwards hitting the board, Donegal lead from the start to get the badly needed victory. Donegal opened with the first five points of the game, but despite slim possession Cork responded and were level after a Hugh Curran goal.
Again Donegal reacted in a positive fashion as Robbie Tasker found the net soccer style on the rebound of an Adrian O’Connor effort. The former Armagh minor added a point from a free when Conor Lynam was fouled to extend the lead.
Tasker and Jason Kelly exchanged points to open the second half before a Nicki Lenaghan score narrowed the gap. Adrian O’Connor, however, hit the net when he got the vital touch to long dropping Martin McHugh drive.
Donegal appeared to be in cruise control as they led 3-9 to 1-6 with Lynam grabbing the third major. But Cork rallied and had points from Alan Raftery, Conall Kelly and Derek Courtney on the heels of a Kelly goal from a 45 that never stopped travelling.
Donegal were on the rails and responded one last time. A point from Padraic McNeise again made for a three point lead, and despite a final score from Kelly for Cork Donegal had done barely just enough.
With four games left in the league Donegal have it all to do to try and grab the final playoff spot. They showed that they have the horses up front, finally, on this display and will make things very difficult for their opponents from here on in. Geraghty, McHugh, Quigley, McNeese, Lynam and Tasker all had pivotal roles in the victory.
Cork were depleted for this outing, but O’Sullivan, Raftery, Stafford and Curran all performed admirably and they still sit top of the table despite the result. They will need to regroup quickly and expect them to do so.
Donegal: 1 Brian Cullinan, 2 Daniel Jackson, 3 Danny Geraghty (0-1), 4 Donnancha O’Dwyer, 5 Paul McGinley, 6 Mark McHugh, 7 Ronan McNamee, 8 Brendan Quigley, 9 Colin Devlin (0-1), 10 Steve Duffy, 11 Padraig McNeise (0-3), 12 PJ Flanagan (0-1), 13 Conor Lynam (1-3), 14 Adrian O’Connor (1-0), 15 Robbie Tasker (1-2). Subs: Ciaran Slattery, Michael Clarke, Joe Bell, Niall Farragher, James Moynagh, Tommy Moran.
Cork: 1 Gary Lowney, 2 Keith Scally, 3 Paul O’Connor, 4 Donagh O’Sullivan,
5 Darren Walsh, 5 Alan Raftery (0-1), 6 Adrian Morrissey, 7 Brian Gallagher, 8 Rory Stafford, 9 Jason Kelly (1-2), 10 Sean O’Neill, 11 Mickey Lenaghan (0-2), 12 Conall Kelly (0-3), 13 Hugh Curran (1-2). Subs: Derek Courtney (0-1), Cormac Ryan, Caolan McLoughlin.
Referee: Sean Jones
Man of the match: Padraig McNeise.