Donegal secure return to Division one but Fermanagh miss out

Jamie Brennan's goal helped Donegal to a 13-point win against Kildare
Donegal secured their return to Division One with a 13-point win against Kildare

Donegal made an immediate return to Division One with a thumping 1-20 to 0-10 win over Kildare at Ballyshannon.

Declan Bonner's side will meet Meath in the Division Two final on 30 March.

Meath took the top spot to book their place in the decider with a seven-point victory over Fermanagh in Navan that ended the Ernesider's promotion hopes.

Armagh's place in the second tier was already secure before their one-point defeat to Cork that was not enough to save the Rebels from relegation.

Clare's shock 3-14 to 1-19 win in Tipperary was enough to keep them in Division Two with a superior points difference to Cork, who were relegated alongside Tipperary.

Kildare's Eoin Doyle
Kildare captain Eoin Doyle earned a black card during his side's defeat by Donegal

Donegal punish lacklustre Lilywhites

Aided by a stiff breeze, Donegal took a 12-point half-time at Ballybofey as Kildare struggled to adjust to the conditions.

The Lilywhites travelled to Donegal knowing that a win could secure promotion if Fermanagh were beaten in Meath but Cian O'Neill's side failed to muster a challenge against the reigning Ulster champions in a surprisingly one-sided contest crowned by Jamie Brennan's second-half goal.

The visitors opted to go man-for-man against their hosts in the opening half and paid a terrible price for that decision as Donegal scored the first nine points in a blistering start spearheaded by Niall O'Donnell and Oisin Gallen.

Kildare had to wait until the 24th minute to register their opening score when Neil Flynn kicked a free but Donegal hammered home their dominance with the final three points of the half to lead 0-13 to 0-1 and effectively seal their return to Division One.

Paddy Brophy converted a mark for the visitors at the start of the second half but their prospects of an unlikely recovery were dented further when captain Eoin Doyle was shown a black card as Gallen, Michael Murphy and Ryan McHugh all scored at the other end.

Brennan's goal in the 45th minute sealed an emphatic result as the forward raced onto Jason McGee's clever pass to score with a low finish.

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Fermanagh satisfied with 'fairly positive' league - Donnelly

Fermanagh no match for resurgent Meath

Meath secured a return to Division One for the first time in 13 years with a free-scoring 2-12 to 0-11 victory against Fermanagh.

The Royals clinched their sixth win of the campaign with goals in either half from Barry Dardis and James McEntee as Fermanagh failed to build on a promising start at Pairc Tailteann and paid the price for their wasteful shooting.

The Ernesiders raced into a 0-4 to no score lead inside the opening four minutes as Ciaran Corrigan and Ultan Kelm raided forward for scores that were bookended by Conall Jones and Sean Quigley but Rory Gallagher's side maintained their defensive approach even with the strong wind at their backs and they failed to score again until just before half time by which time they had amassed 11 wides.

Fermanagh's Ryan Jones and Thomas O'Reilly of Meath
Ryan Jones scored three points for Fermanagh but they could not upset Meath in Navan

Meath recovered from their sluggish start and took the lead for the first time through with Dardis' goal following Bryan Menton's storming run.

Ryan Jones scored a point at the start of the second half to draw Fermanagh level but Meath's pace and movement in attack proved too good for the visitor's massed ranks as Menton, Dardis and Michael Newman all scored before McEntee danced through the visitor's defence to score with a left-footed finish.

Despite the efforts of Conall and Ryan Jones, Fermanagh were unable to get back into contention as a Cillian O'Sullivan-inspired Meath eased clear to seal an impressive victory.

Armagh leave it too late

Armagh's Division Two status was already secure before their clash with Cork at the Athletic Grounds but their guests had to win and hope results elsewhere would fall their way if they were to avoid relegation.

A motivated Rebels side made the most of a goal-laden start as they powered into the lead and then held on in the closing minutes to take a 3-9 to 1-14 win.

Brian Hurley's two goals inside the opening eight minutes saw the visitors charged into a 2-3 to 0-1 lead while John O'Rourke and Eoghan McSweeney scored two points apiece as Cork held a 2-6 to 0-6 advantage at the break.

Rory Grugan's sixth point of the game drew Armagh level with Cork
Rory Grugan scored six points for Armagh in their defeat by Cork

The impressive Rory Grugan and Rian O'Neill helped Armagh to chip away at the Cork lead and they had reduced it to the minimum before two goals in the space of as many minutes reignited the match.

Kevin Crowley hit the net for Cork's third goal but Jamie Clarke converted an Armagh penalty just seconds later and Grugan's free in the 66th minute brought the two sides level for the first time since the opening minutes.

Cork, with the threat of relegation urging them on, found another gear and scores from Cian Kiely and Damien Gore edged them to a one-point win but there was disappointment at the final whistle as news emerged of Clare's late rally against Tipperary - the Banner scoring 1-2 without reply to snatch victory and avoid relegation at Cork's expense.

ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE RESULTS

Division One
Cavan1-10Dublin1-16
Tyrone3-15Galway1-14
Roscommon0-13Kerry2-17
Mayo3-15Monaghan1-18
Division Two
Tipperary1-19Clare3-15
Meath2-12Fermanagh0-11
Armagh1-14Cork3-9
Donegal1-20Kildare0-10
Division Three
Sligo1-10Offaly1-11
Westmeath1-14Longford1-10
Down1-6Louth0-10
Laois1-15Carlow1-12
Division Four
Wicklow0-8London0-6
Limerick1-11Antrim2-12

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