Donegal recovered from a nine-point deficit to draw with Monaghan, Tyrone overcame Armagh, while Cork, Derry and Cavan also picked up wins.
Donegal 1-20 Monaghan 4-11
Donegal were dealt a significant setback in the early stages, with Michael Murphy forced ashore due to injury, in a move which will worry Declan Bonner.
Things then went from bad to worse for the hosts in Ballybofey, as Conor McCarthy rounded Shaun Patton, dummied Neil McGee and found the net. The rampant Farney forward continued his scoring, and had completed a hat-trick by the 21st minute, giving the visitors a 3-4 to 0-4 lead.
However, Tír Chonaill then settled. Michael Langan scored a remarkable solo goal and Paddy McBrearty found his range from frees, before Monaghan’s Conor Boyle was sent off for a second black card offence.
That gave Donegal a lifeline, as they trailed 3-7 to 1-8 at half-time.
Monaghan introduced Conor McManus as they looked to close out the result, and the Clontibret man made an immediate impact by scoring his side’s fourth goal.
Numerical parity was restored in the 53rd minute, when Daire Ó Baoill was sent off for a second yellow card.
But from there Donegal began to eat into the lead, and remarkably a Paddy McBrearty point in the 69th minute levelled it.
Both sides had opportunities, but neither could find a winner at the death.
Donegal: Shaun Patton; Eoghan Bán Gallagher (0-1), Neil McGee, Brendan McCole; Ryan McHugh, Paul Brennan, Peadar Mogan (0-1); Hugh McFadden, Caolan McGonagle (0-1); Niall O’Donnell (0-2), Ciaran Thompson (0-2), Michael Langan (1-1); Paddy McBrearty (0-8, 0-3 frees, 0-1 mark), Michael Murphy, Oisin Gallen (0-3).
Subs: Daire Ó Baoill for Michael Murphy (5th minute), Eoin McHugh (0-1) for Paul Brennan (half-time), Odhrán Mac Niallais for Hugh McFadden (46th minute), Stephen McMenamin for Neil McGee (54th minute), Paddy McGrath for Eoghan Bán Gallagher (64th minute), Jason McGee for Brendan McCole (64th minute).
Monaghan: Rory Beggan; Kieran Duffy, Conor Boyle, Ryan Wylie; Karl O’Connell (0-1), Karl McMenamin, Ryan McAnespie (0-1); Darren Hughes, Killian Lavelle; Stephen O’Hanlon, Aaron Mulligan (0-2, 0-1 free), Micheál Bannigan (0-2, 0-1 free); Conor McCarthy (3-1), Andrew Woods (0-1), Seán Jones.
Subs: Conor McManus (1-3, 0-3 frees) for Seán Jones (half-time), Shane Hanratty for Micheal Bannigan (42nd minute), Niall Kearns for Andrew Woods (52nd minute), Jack McCarron for Stephen O’Hanlon (59th minute), Colm Lennon for Karl O’Connell (59th minute), Gary Mohan for Aaron Mulligan (74th minute).
Armagh 2-10 Tyrone 2-15
Tyrone finished stronger than their hosts to pick up their first win of 2021.
The Red Hands enjoyed a dream start, with Peter Harte’s early goal helping them into a 1-3 to 0-1 lead. However, the Orchard County hit back. Rory Grugan kicked two well-taken points from play, while Jarly Óg Burns palmed it into the net after Rian O’Neill drew Niall Morgan off his line.
It was finely poised at the break, with the teams level at 1-7 apiece.
Tyrone looked to start the second-half emphatically, and had the ball in the Armagh net within seconds. However, Paul Donaghy was called for a square ball.
It was Armagh who landed the next significant blow, however, as Rian O’Neill landed a well-weighted ball into the hands of Conor Turbitt. The young forward rounded Niall Morgan to score the goal.
Nonetheless, Paul Donaghy and Mattie Donnelly kept the scoreboard ticking over for the visitors, before Niall Morgan denied Stefan Campbell from the penalty spot.
A pair of Darren McCurry points helped Tyrone into a 1-12 to 2-8 lead at the second-half water break. Seconds later, Mark Bradley found the Armagh net with a delightful half-volley.
Kieran McGeeney’s charges dug deep to stay in the hunt, but late scores from Bradley and Conor Meyler saw Tyrone over the line.
Armagh: Blaine Hughes; Ryan Kennedy, Aidan Forker, James Morgan; Connaire Mackin, Aaron McKay, Ciaron O’Hanlon; Niall Grimley, Jarly Óg Burns (1-0); Jemar Hall (0-1), Rian O’Neill (0-1), Greg McCabe; Rory Grugan (0-5, 0-3 frees), Oisin O’Neill (0-1), Stefan Campbell (0-1).
Subs: Barry McCambridge for Ryan Kennedy (10th minute), Ross McQuillan for James Morgan (18th minute), Paul Hughes for Jemar Hall (20th minute), Conor Turbitt for Aidan Forker (33rd minute), Paddy Burns for Greg McCabe (33rd minute), Jason Duffy (0-1) for Stefan Campbell (55th minute).
Tyrone: Niall Morgan; Cormac Munroe, Ronan McNamee, Pádraig Hampsey; Michael O’Neill, Mattie Donnelly (0-1), Peter Harte (1-1); Frank Burns, Declan McClure; Paul Donaghy (0-4, 0-2 frees), Darren McCurry (0-7, 0-4 frees), Conor Meyler (0-1); Kieran McGeary, Conor McKenna, Darragh Canavan.
Subs: Michael Cassidy for Michael O’Neill (41st minute), Rory Brennan for Declan McClure (41st minute), Niall Sludden for Kieran McGeary (half-time), Mark Bradley (1-1, 0-1 mark) for Paul Donaghy (51st minute), Liam Rafferty for Darragh Canavan (61st minute), Michael McKernan for Cormac Munroe (62nd minute).
NFL Division 1 North
Cork recovered from last week’s loss to Kildare, beating Laois 2-12 to 0-10 at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise. The Rebels breathed fire into their promotion bid, with first-half goals from Sean White and Ruairí Deane helping them over the line.
Meanwhile, Mayo continued their march in the ‘North’ group, beating Westmeath in Mullingar.
NFL Division 2 North
NFL Division 2 South
Offaly have made it two wins from two in the third tier, beating Limerick 0-16 to 1-11. Meanwhile, Munster champions Tipperary recovered from their opening loss to defeat Wicklow, 2-12 to 1-12 at Semple Stadium.
Derry backed up last week’s 16-point win over Longford with a 5-13 to 0-9 hammering of Fermanagh. Elsewhere, Ulster champs Cavan beat Longford, 1-19 to 1-13.
NFL Division 3 North
NFL Division 3 South
In the basement tier, Waterford upset Wexford away, with goals from Daragh Corcoran and Brian Looby helping them to a 2-13 to 0-18 win.
NFL Division 4 South
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