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Reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin will share the Division 1 Allianz League title with Munster rivals, Kerry, after a hard-fought win over Ulster contenders Donegal at Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday evening.
With no actual final set to take place due to championship commitments, and with Kerry dismantling Tyrone in the first semi-final earlier on in the day, both teams were given the honour.
The juggernaut that is Dublin looked out of sorts for a short period of the opening half, falling behind by two points before warming into the game and taking control.
The first half saw the two teams look nervous, a few misplaced passes gave off a cagey and stuttering start, with Donegal ahead by two, with points from Michael Langan and Niall O’Donnell.
Dublin immediately responded with a point from Con O’Callaghan to get back into the game and calm any nerves they may have had. By the 15 minute-mark, Cormac Costello restored the game to level the game at 0-04 each.
The Dubs smelled blood shortly after, with Niall Scully attempting an audacious goal chance after Donegal goalkeeper Shaun Patton was caught lacking but the shot went wide.
A turnover for Dublin ultimately led to Paddy Small coolly rounding Patton and calmly placing the ball down the middle of the goal with ease.
The end of the first half saw Dublin lead 1-08 to 0-07.
The start of the second half saw the Dubs notch a further three points in three minutes from Ciaran Kilkenny, Sean McMahon, and midfield general Brian Fenton, before Paddy McBrearty got a hat-trick of points for Donegal to get them back in the game.
With Dublin’s lead at 1-16 to 0-11 points with the game soon to end, Brendan McCole squandered a goal chance just before Eoghan McGettigan scoring a goal.
The final scoreline was complementary to Donegal, starting off well before Dublin inevitably took control and made an example out of the Ulster giants.
Shaun Patton; Eoin McHugh, Stephen McMenamin, Brendan McCole (0-01); Ryan McHugh, Odhrán McFadden Ferry, Ethan O’Donnell; Caolan McGonagle (0-02), Hugh McFadden; Ciaran Thompson, Odhrán Mac Niallais (0-01), Niall O’Donnell (0-01); Patrick McBrearty (0-06, 0-01m, 0-02fs), Michael Langan (0-02), Oisin Gallen.
Evan Comerford; Michael Fitzsimons, David Byrne, Sean McMahon (0-01); Eoin Murchan, Brian Howard (0-01), James McCarthy; Brian Fenton (0-01), Peadar O Cofaigh Byrne; Colm Basquel, Ciaran Kilkenny (0-02), Niall Scully; Paddy Small (1-03, 0-01m), Con O’Callaghan (0-03), Cormac Costello (0-06,0-05fs, 0-01’45’).