Date Time Competition Season
20 May 2023 2:00 pm Sam Maguire Cup 2023

Match Report

Second Half Comeback Hands Donegal Opening Win

Donegal secured an opening round win against Clare despite not actually getting out of first gear in a poor performance.

Clare had led at the break but only managed two points in a second half collapse which gifted the win to their visitors.

In a game where wides almost outnumbered scores for both sides it was the scoring performances from Oisin Gallen and Ciaran Thompson accompanied by a fantastic first half save from Shaun Patton which will leave Aidan O’Rourke somewhat satisfied with the result.

Clare opened the scoring with two quick fire scores in the opening minute as Keelan Sexton and Pearse Lillis both points as Donegal failed to get up and running in the early stages. Lillis would add a third before Ciaran Thompson would find Donegal’s first score with 12 minutes on the clock.

On 20 minutes, Donegal keeper Shaun Patton was on top form to deny Keelan Sexton after a lovely move from the Clare side with an excellent ball in from Eoin Cleary but Sexton could not find the net, the Ulster side broke but continued the trend as they put the effort wide, their fifth of the game, as they continued to struggle up front.

Things continued to go awry for Donegal as Clare added two pointed frees from Cleary to stretch the lead to four points before Oisin Gallen finally doubled Donegal’s tally to two points just shy of the half hour mark.

That score seemed to wake Donegal from their slumber as Eoghan Ban Gallagher swapped scores with Clare’s Emmet McMahon’s point. Just prior to half time Gallagher had another glorious opportunity to find the net but he elected to pass to John Ross Molloy who couldn’t keep his effort on target and Clare were able to breathe a sigh of relief to retain their three point lead into the half time break.

It was Donegal who came out of the dressing room with a new vigour in the second period with two scores in the opening minutes from Gallen and Thompson but despite the visitors pulling themselves back to within a point of their hosts they couldn’t level matters.

Ten minutes later Emmet McMahon and Ciaran Thompson traded points before Caolan McGonagle levelled matters for Donegal.

Both sides struggled to find the range with more wides for each side than scores with less than a quarter hour remaining of quite a poor shooting performance from both teams.

Finally after a series of wides, and with just ten minutes remaining, Donegal took the lead as Hugh McFadden finally popped up with a point but the lead didn’t last long with substitute Darragh Bohannon levelling matters 60 seconds later as the temperature started to rise in the atmosphere in Ennis.

Oisin Gallen struck back instantly for the Ulster side as they looked like they might have found an extra gear as Caolan McGonagle and Luke McGlynn increased the advantage to three points going into the final five minutes.

A Ciaran Thompson insurance score seemed to secure the game for Donegal but Clare hadn’t finished scoring just yet. Aaron Griffin pulled one back before Jason McGee was forced off briefly to replace a torn jersey after some handbags. McGee was lucky to avoid sanction immediately on his return as he pulled a Clare player to the ground but eventually he did pick up a yellow for his troubles.


1Stephen Ryan Goalkeeper
2Ronan Lanigan Defender
3Cillian Brennan Defender
4Cillian Rouine Defender
5Ciaran Russell Defender
6Jamie Malone Defender
7Cian O’Dea 23 Defender
8Cathal O’Connor 21 Midfielder
9Darren O’Neill 24 Midfielder
10Daniel Walsh 26 Forward
11Emmet McMahon Forward 30', 46'
12Pearse Lillis Forward 1', 9'
13Eoin Cleary Forward 16', 27'
14Keelan Sexton Forward 1'
15Padraic Collins 17 Forward
16David Sexton Goalkeeper
17Darragh Bohannon 15 Midfielder 61'
18Gavin Cooney
19Manus Doherty
20Michael Garry
21Aaron Griffin 8 Forward
22Shane Griffin
23Mark McInerney 7 Forward
24Brian McNamara 9
25Alan Sweeney Defender
26Ikem Ugwueru 10


1Shaun Patton Goalkeeper
2Mark Curran Defender
3Brendan McCole Defender
4John Ross Molloy 17 Defender
5Caolan Ward 18 Defender
6Odhran Doherty Defender
7Eoghán Bán Gallagher Defender 31'
8Caolan McGonagle Midfielder 48', 64'
9Rory O’Donnell Midfielder 70+5'
10Daire O Baoill Forward 34'
11Jamie Brennan Forward
12Ciaran Thompson Forward 12', 47', 67'
20Oisin Gallen Forward 29', 36', 62', 70+4'
14Hugh McFadden Forward 60'
15Conor O’Donnell 13 Forward
16Gavin Mulreaney
13Luke McGlynn 15 Forward 65'
17Jason McGee 4 Midfielder 70+1'
18Caolan McColgan 5
19Brian O’Donnell Defender
21Martin Reilly Defender
22Johnny McGroddy
23Kane Barrett
24Kieran Tobin Defender
25Jack McSharry
26Jamie Grant


Cusack Park, Ennis
Cusack Park, Francis Street, Ennis No. 3 Urban ED, Ennis Municipal District, County Clare, Munster, V95 YR92, Ireland

Get all the latest news, reports, results, fixtures, statistics and tables from the SSE Airtricity Leagues, All Ireland League as well as Inter county and club Gaelic Games.