Donegal reeled off an unanswered 1-4 from the 67th minute onwards to defeat Cork by 1-19 to 1-12 at Pairc Ui Rinn.
Luke Connolly’s 26th-minute pointed free had tied the score up but Niall O’Donnell pointed a brace and Dáire O’Baoill added a point in the third minute of injury time before Jamie Brennan got on the end of O’Donnell’s pass to register the winners’ goal, Ryan McHugh closing the scoring in the 76th minute.
That late flurry completed a 13-point swing in favour of Declan Bonner’s men and keeps them in the hunt for promotion with a home fixture against Kildare coming next weekend.
Cork, in contrast, who are away to Armagh next Sunday, remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the Division Two table and are in real danger now of sinking to the third tier. With 1,219 looking on, the hosts led by six points shortly after half time.
The sides were level, having shared twelve points, with a minute left in the first half but Matthew Taylor’s goal from the rebound after Shaun Patton had dealt with Ruairi Deane’s strike pushed the Leesiders ahead before an Eoghan McSweeney brace handed the losers a handsome interval advantage, 1-8 to 0-6.
Brennan and Mark Collins traded the first two points before a Michael Murphy free nudged the visitors in front for the second time, Michael Hurley on hand to equalise again. Hurley then cancelled out an Oisin Gallen point and Deane’s strike had the Rebels ahead for the first time with 16 minutes played.
McSweeeney doubled the difference and – as the Ulster champions fluffed their lines – Sweeney’s free made it double scores, 0-6 to 0-3.
A Murphy free presented Donegal with their first score in almost 20 minutes before quickfire points from Ciaran Thompson and Caolan Ward at the tail end of the first half tied the scores up again. However, Taylor’s goal and McSweeney’s brace gave Ronan McCarthy’s charges a major boost before the short whistle.
It was double scores when Collins pointed within seconds of the restart but back came Donegal with points from O’Baoill and Murphy; then further unanswered strikes from McHugh, Murphy (free, ‘45’) and Brennan – from a tight angle - after Connolly struck for the Rebels, who still led by 1-10 to 0-12 with 20 minutes remaining.
O’Donnell cancelled out Connolly’s strike and Murphy’s free equalised again before Hugh McFadden restored Donegal’s lead on 58 minutes. Connolly’s free had Cork level again with nine minutes to go but O’Donnell pointed twice for the visitors in the 67th and 68th minutes, leaving two between the teams going into six minutes of injury time.
The Rebels had Collins dismissed for a second yellow-card offence in the first added minute and they finished the game with twelve men as Connolly and Ian Maguire departed through injury after their full complement of substitutes had been used up. Brennan’s 74th-minute goal – in between points from O’Baoill and McHugh – had the Tir Chonail men’s winning margin out to seven by the time the final whistle sounded.
Donegal - S Patton; E Doherty, S McMenamin, C Ward (0-1); P Brennan, L McLoone, E Ban Gallagher; H McFadden (0-1), C McGonagle; N O’Donnell (0-3), C Thompson (0-1), R McHugh (0-2); J Brennan (1-2), M Murphy (0-6, 4f, 1'45), O Gallen (0-1). Subs: D O Baoill (0-2) for P Brennan, P McGrath for C Ward, E McHugh for O Gallen, N McGee for E Doherty.
Cork - M Martin; S Ryan, Thomas Clancy, C Dennehy; K Crowley, K Flahive, M Taylor (1-0); I Maguire, K O’Hanlon; P Kerrigan, E McSweeney (0-3), R Deane (0-1); M Collins (0-2), M Hurley (0-2), L Connolly (0-4, 3f). Subs: M White for M Martin, R O’Toole for P Kerrigan, K O’Driscoll for R Taylor, S Powter for R Deane, C Kiely for C Dennehy, S Powter for K Crowley.
Referee - D Gough.Tweet