Donegal end a tough week with a heavy loss to Roscommon

Aidan O"Rourke (right) and Paddy Bradley (left) took charge of Donegal on Sunday after the departure of Paddy Carr (centre)
Aidan O"Rourke (right) and Paddy Bradley (left) took charge of Donegal on Sunday after the departure of Paddy Carr (centre)

Allianz Football League Division One round seven

Roscommon 0-21 Donegal 0-9

AIDAN O’Rourke confirmed that no decision had been made on his future as Donegal manager after admitting his players had endured a “chaotic” and “emotionally tough” week after Paddy Carr’s resignation. 

Despite a bright start, the mood within the county won’t have improved on the back of this limp showing, which saw Roscommon cruise to victory and restrict their opponents to just two second half scores to confirm their relegation.  

“It has been sort of a tumultuous environment for the last number of weeks,” said O’Rourke.

“There’s no doubt that’s affecting the players and the focus.  

“This week was really about just keep moving them forward because it was quite a sort of chaotic and emotionally tough week for everybody, Paddy most of all.  

“When Paddy asked us to take the boys as far as today, it was difficult to do that. But, ultimately, we were asked to do a job with the Donegal senior team and to not finish the League out would have been really difficult to do and Paddy, in particular, felt that should be done in terms of the commitment that was given at the start of the year.”  

When pressed on his future, O’Rourke was non-committal, adding that no meeting with the county board was in the pipeline. 

“Look, I undertook to coach the team this year and working with Paddy at the outset. There was a backroom team built around it, that dynamic has changed and there are a lot of moving parts in all of that.” 

The opening quarter yesterday was open and free-flowing with both sides on the attack. 

Diarmuid Murtagh got the ball rolling with a converted free from 45 metres for the Rossies, but Donegal reacted positively as Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Caolan McGonagle, Conor Donnell and Jamie Brennan found the target. 

Roscommon never let their opponents out of sight as points from Tadhg O’Rourke, the excellent Ben O’Carroll and full-back Brian Stack left the sides deadlocked at 0-4 apiece after only 11 minutes. 

From there until the end, however, Roscommon turned the screw. 

O’Carroll and Enda Smith kicked points, but there was some brief Donegal resistance when Ciarán Thompson found the range. 

The home side made their greater possession count with Smith, Diarmuid Murtagh (two) and O’Carroll finally putting some daylight between the teams. 

Ciaráin Murtagh responded to a Michael Langan free to leave Davy Burke’s men 0-12 to 0-7 up at the break. 

The game’s trajectory went all Roscommon’s way after the break.  

The Connacht side were always able to keep the scoreboard ticking over with Smith, Keith Doyle, Ciaráin Murtagh and Conor Cox scoring. 

Ciarán Thompson and substitute Jaeic McKelvey registered Donegal’s only two scores of the second half, but Roscommon were rarely troubled as Cian McKeon and Cian Connolly marked their introduction off the bench with points to hand Roscommon a facile victory.

For Donegal, the gloom shows no sign of lifting.

Roscommon C Carroll; C Hussey, B Stack (0-1), D Murray; N Daly (0-1), E McCormack, D Ruane; T O’Rourke (0-1), K Doyle (0-2); C Murtagh (0-3), E Smith (0-3), N Kilroy; D Murtagh (0-3, 0-1 free), C Cox (0-1), B O’Carroll (0-3)

Subs R Fallon for O’Rourke (12), D Smith for O’Carroll (ht), R Hughes for Daly (41), C McKeon (0-2) for Kilroy (41), C Connolly (0-1) for Cox (60) 

Donegal S Patton; M Curran, B McCole, C Ward; JR Molloy, C McGonagle (0-1), E Ban Gallagher (0-1); M Langan (0-1, free), J McGee; M O’Reilly, C Thompson (0-2), C O’Donnell (0-1); J McGroddy; H McFadden (0-1), J Brennan (0-1). 

Subs K Tobin for O’Reilly (ht), J McKelvey (0-1) for Langan (ht), K Dunleavy for McGroddy (41), J B Walsh for McGee (66), B O’Donnell for Gallagher (70) 

Referee J McQuillan (Cavan)