Donegal shocked the All-Ireland champions Kerry with a one-point NFL Division One opening day win in Ballybofey on Sunday – 0-13 to 1-9 – and the performance of the referee shocked Kerry boss Jack O’Connor as he lamented a Caolon McColgan point that the visitors felt was a wide.

An angry O’Connor confronted match official Liam Devenney after the final whistle, and then protested to the media after the ref and his umpires had ruled that McColgan’s effort had gone over the bar and not curled wide.

“Donegal had a point there that was blatantly wide. Everyone in the stand, ye saw that did ye?” O’Connor told the BBC. “It was a yard wide. Holy Jaysus but anyway it is what it is. You don’t get many breaks when you’re coming to away grounds like this. Just disappointing because I felt we deserved a point out of it at minimum.

“That shouldn’t be happening. The linesman said it was wide yet he goes with the umpire. That’s an incredible decision in a Division One game.”
For new Donegal boss Paddy Carr, the pride in his team and the result was all that mattered as he opened his league account with an unexpected three points after a match-winning point late on from new captain Paddy McBrearty.

“That’s a very changed side from the last side that took the field in the championship against Armagh,” Carr told RTE. “We have a lot of well-recognized footballers who weren’t out there today and we had talked a fair bit about the spirit of Donegal.  There’s an incredibly proud group of lads there and they fought to the end.

“Because the conditions were very difficult and it mightn’t be the prettiest football but my goodness, it was a great league battle and there are plenty of good footballers in Kerry, and fair play to them.”

Carr added, “There have been a lot of questions about the heart and soul of Donegal football and I don’t pay too much attention to it because the joy of actually being with these lads week in, week out and seeing what they can produce, that’s a really big positive from today. I know it’s only the first game of the year but it’s a nice way to start off, no doubt about it.”

Late goals from brothers Ciaran and Diarmuid Murtagh helped Roscommon to a surprise 3-11 to 1-12 win over Tyrone in their Hyde Park clash, with Red Hand coach Feargal Logan lamenting his side’s failure to hold onto a three-point lead at the end of the third quarter.

“It’s difficult and it’s a sore one. Midway through the second half we felt we were in good shape,” Logan told RTE. “We thought we were well-positioned and we had a chance maybe to seal it when we went through on the net. That didn’t happen.
“Roscommon just picked us off. Enda Smith came in, a quality footballer, and shook the thing for them. Goals into that breeze were going to be painful and they scored two in quick succession.”

New Mayo boss Kevin McStay was happy with a 1-11 to 2-8 draw with Connacht rivals Galway at MacHale Park as Ryan O’Donoghue rescued the point with the last kick of the game.

“We’re delighted with the point, it sets us up nicely for next week. Great battling qualities from our boys we feel. It’s a good result, a point on the board,” said McStay.

Two late points from Stefan Campbell helped Armagh to a 1-14 to 1-12 win over neighbors Monaghan in their Division One opener in Castleblayney.