Donegal 0-15 Monaghan 1-09
Donegal have been crowned Ulster Senior Football champions for the third time in four years after a hard-fought three-point win over Monaghan in an historic day in Clones this afternoon.
It is the first time Donegal has won both the senior and minor Ulster football titles in the same season, Declan Bonner’s side winning the minor title for the first time in eight years with a convincing win over Armagh earlier in the day.
Leading by two points at half-time, Jim McGuinness’s side showed what it takes to lift the Anglo Celt Cup when, in the second period, they fought back after seeing a five point lead reduced to win gain revenge on the side that beat them in last year’s final.
Karl Lacey put Donegal ahead with an excellent point in the fifth minute and Brian McHugh should have doubled the advantage two minutes later but put his effort wide from a good position.
The lead was increased in the 11th minute when good play between McGee and McNaillias ended with the latter putting over an excellent point.
Colm McFadden put Donegal further ahead with a free awarded for a foul on Neil McGee before Monaghan got their first score of the game in the 14th minute from a free.
Another Monaghan free reduced the deficit to a single point in the 22nd minute but Donegal doubled their lead straight away when following a superb catch Neil Gallagher set up Anthony Thompson to put over the bar.
A Colm McFadden free put three between the sides in the 27th minute.
Keeper Paul Durcan came to Donegal’s rescue to block an almost certain goal in the 31st minute which resulted in Monaghan successfully converted the resultant 45.
McNaillais doubled the advantage in Donegal’s favour on a scoreline with a point in the first minute of injury time at the end of the half.
But a Monaghan free in the dying seconds leaves two between the sides at the break.
McFadden and Finlay exchanged points in the opening minute of the second half before MacNiallais got his third point of the game in the 38th minute to put three between the sides on a scoreline of 0-08 to 0-05.
A long range Paddy McBrearty effort in the 41st minute was followed by another sucessful McFadden free three minutes later as Donegal began to stamp their authority on the game and open up a five point lead on a scoreline of 0-10 to 0-05.
However, Donegal were rocked back on their heels in the 49th minute when McGuinness powered through to fire to the back of the net to leave a single point between the sides.
Ryan McHugh should have put Donegal four points five minutes later but he blazed over the bar from seven yards.
Both sides exchanged points to leave the scores 0-13 to 1-07 in Donegal’s favour on the hour mark.
Another brilliant long range effort from distance by McBrearty eased the Donegal nerves as he Donegal three points in front with 15 minutes remaining.
Another exchange of points set up a tense last five minutes before Boyle put four points between the sides just two minutes from the end.
McManus put over a consolation point for Monaghan in the dying seconds.