25 Jul 2009 - GAA - Galway 0-13 Donegal 0-14

John Joe Doherty's men came under increased pressure after losing to Antrim in the Ulster Championship and struggling to put Carlow and Clare away in the opening rounds of the qualifiers.

But they showed tremendous character to produce the goods in extra-time against Derry last weekend and they gained further momentum in Sligo this evening, reaching the All-Ireland quarter-finals for the first time since 2006.

Donegal's two-man full-forward line of Colm McFadden (0-06) and Michael Murphy (0-05) worked a treat, while their defence nullified the chief Galway threats of Nicky and Padraic Joyce and Michael Meehan, who managed only three points from play between them.

Indeed, Nicky Joyce, the scorer of eight points in last weekend's Connacht final, was held scoreless this time around and was fortunate to remain on the pitch after a dangerously high tackle on Barry Dunnion in the closing stages.

Little went right for the Tribesmen in the final 20 minutes as Donegal retook the lead and stubbornly held onto it, thanks to points from team captain Rory Kavanagh, substitute David Walsh and man-of-the-match McFadden.

Galway had centre-back Diarmuid Blake sent-off for his second bookable offence, with four minutes remaining, and Garrett Bradshaw's late attempt at a levelling point tailing away to the left of the posts.

Donegal full-forward Murphy was on fire in the opening seven minutes, winning a succession of frees off Finian Hanley and Galway skipper Damien Burke who struggled to cope with the Glenswilly man's power.

Murphy pointed two of them himself and McFadden the other as Donegal moved into a 0-03 to 0-00 lead, before Joe Bergin helped set up the pacey Sean Armstrong for Galway's opening point.

The beaten Connacht finalists had the wind at their backs for the first 35 minutes but struggled to use it, with Karl Lacey, Barry Monaghan and Eamon McGee shining defensively for Donegal.

A towering point from Paul Conroy, after Bradshaw had burst forward, closed the gap to one briefly, before Leo McLoone launched an inspirational point over off his right foot and Murphy added a free.

A pointed free from Meehan made it a two-point game again and that is how it stayed until the Galway attack enjoyed its best spell just after the half-hour mark.

Matthew Clancy's angled runs were beginning to cause problems and the Galway corner forward had a legitimate call for a penalty or at least a close-in free waved away by referee Rory Hickey.

Padraic Joyce clipped a great pass through for Clancy to land a point soon after, with Donegal almost immediately edging it back to 0-07 to 0-05 thanks to a superb point from play from McFadden.

The wily St Michael's clubman strode out towards the left touchline and swung an inch-perfect shot over his shoulder and through the posts to the delight of the Donegal supporters.

Clancy cut through for his second point, swooping onto a pass from Armstrong, and Galway claimed the first half's final point through Conroy who levelled the sides for the first time in injury-time.

There was still time for Bergin to pick up a yellow card for an off-the-ball clash with McGee, which the umpires picked up on and the incident might have warranted a stronger punishment.

The 15 men of Galway returned for the second half and upped the ante, taking a 0-11 to 0-09 lead by the 47th minute.

Bradshaw dinked a shot towards the post which goalkeeper Michael Boyle had to tap over for a point and while McFadden increased his personal tally to 0-04, efforts from Padraic Joyce, Kieran Fitzgerald and Armstrong had Galway purring.

Nonetheless, they needed a top class save by Adrian Faherty to deny McFadden a goal. The Galway stopper did very well to direct a stinging shot over the bar, after a lovely delivery in from Brian Roper.

But then came the most important period of the match for Donegal, as they strung together four successive points to go back in front at 0-13 to 0-11.

An expertly-taken free from the right from McFadden kickstarted it, Kavanagh then looped a shot that almost broke the goal deadlock - it came back off the bar instead - and Murphy squared it up again at 0-11 apiece.

Kavanagh put his side ahead for the first time in the second half and substitute Walsh, after some great foraging from Conal Dunne, landed a point off his right as Galway, playing their second game in six days, began to tire somewhat.

Nicky Joyce's neck-high tackle on Dunnion saw him receive a yellow card and bore the frustrations of a player who had been marked out of the game.

Michael Meehan ended a 17-minute scoreless spell for Galway, which included a missed goal chance that Monaghan did well to hack away to safety.

But Blake's dismissal hampered Galway's chances of a late comeback and while substitute Eoin Wade cracked a goal-scoring opportunity just to the wrong side of the left-hand post, McFadden's sixth point of the evening was enough to see Donegal through.

Scorers: Donegal: C McFadden 0-06 (0-04f), M Murphy 0-05 (0-05f), L McLoone, R Kavanagh, D Walsh 0-01 each

Galway: M Meehan 0-04 (0-02f), P Conroy, M Clancy, S Armstrong 0-02 each, G Bradshaw, P Joyce, K Fitzgerald 0-01 each

DONEGAL: M Boyle; F McGlynn, N McGee, K Lacey; B Dunnion, B Monaghan, E McGee; B Boyle, K Cassidy; R Kavanagh (capt), B Roper, L McLoone; C Dunne, M Murphy, C McFadden.

Subs used: D Walsh for McLoone (46 mins), J Gallagher for McGlynn (49), E Wade for Dunnion (63).

GALWAY: A Faherty; K Fitzgerald, F Hanley, D Burke (capt); G Bradshaw, D Blake, D Meehan; J Bergin, N Coleman; S Armstrong, P Joyce, P Conroy; M Clancy, M Meehan, N Joyce.

Subs used: C Bane for Conroy (53 mins), B Cullinane for N Joyce (65).

Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare)