A last gasp kicked by Paddy McBrearty sailed wide of the upright in the Ulster Senior Football Final which would given the Donegal men a well earned replay.
It just wasn’t to be for Rory Gallagher’s men who finished the second strongly and could have clinched a draw in the dying seconds at Clones.
But they will rue the 16 wides all game which let Monaghan off the hook and allowed them to lift the Anglo Celt Cup.
Monaghan only scored three points all second have compared to Donegal’s six points.
At the start of the second half, Gallagher sent his men out three minutes early after giving them a half time roasting over a poor first half performance.
In the opening two minutes of the second half, Donegal hit three wides. They were to be crucial misses at the full time whistle.
Monaghan opened the scoring on 38 minutes from Owen Lennon in the full forward line from the right wing at a tight angle.
Ryan McHugh wass cynically fouled and Donegal got a free in and Paddy McBrearty popped it over the bar.
Anthony Thompson came for Karl Lacey on 40 minutes but he didn’t appear to show any sign of an injury.
Ryan McHugh was fouled again and Paddy McBrearty scores the free and cut Monaghan’s lead to three points.
On 43 minutes, Conor McManus increased Monaghan’s lead back to four points with a superb free.
Conor McFadden hit Donegal’s fifth wide on 45 minutes – another crucial miss.
And then Gallagher hits wide – the 10th all game.
Conor McManus increased Monaghan’s lead on 50 minutes with his sixth score of the game.
On 51 minutes, Michael Muprhy scored a free and helps to reduced Monaghan’s lead to four points.
Conor McFadden was taken off and is replaced by Daryl O’Connor. And another wide to Donegal this time from Paddy McBrearty – the eighth in the second half now.
Ryan McAnespie then came on for the Farneymen but skewed his shot wide.
Conor McManus struck a free wide on 57 minutes. The lead remained at four points and McBrearty shot wide and that was 13th all game.
Then it went to 14 wides. Donegal had’t score a point from open play since the fifth minute when Frank McGlynn put a ball over the bar.
But on 61 minutes McBrearty scored a free and the lead was now back to three points.
On 64 minutes McBrearty scored a fantastic left footed strike over the Monaghan bar with their lead now down to two points.
It was a nail biting time for both sets of fans in the stand as the clocked ticked down to the last five minutes of the match
Mark McHugh was fouled on 65 minutes and McBrearty scored the free and the match was now down to one point – his sixth score of the game.
Conor McManus broke free in the Donegal back line and drilled in a shot on 66 minutes which comes of the upright and falls into the arms of a Donegal defender.
And the word resounds around Clone that there is three minutes of added time and and just one score for Donegal could make it a draw or a goal could clinch it for them.
Then up came Paddy McBrearty who is 30 yards out from the Monaghan goal and with his left peg curls in a beautiful shot.
He held his head in his hands as the umpire behind the goals signal a wide with his arms.
And that was it. The last kick of the game and Donegal lost the final by a solitary point.
A better second half performance by Rory Gallagher’s team but how he and his team will miss those 15 wides all game.
Rory Gallagher’s men started off the brightest but it was Monaghan who ended the first half well on top.
Paddy McBrearty opened the scoring with fantastic left point after just 1 min. He had the ball in his hand for less than one second before he took aim and fired over the bar.
Karl Lacey came in from the right touchline and scores a superb point after two minutes. Pure class from Lacey.
After four minutes Monaghan pulled a point back with a free kick from Conor McManus.
Frank McGlynn scored on five minutes to increase the gap to two points. 3-1 to Donegal.
First wide to Donegal came on seven minutes when Paddy McBrearty fired well wide of the Monaghan uprights.
But Karl O’Connell closed the gap to one point with a great point from open play on nine minutes.
Donegal’s Frank McGlynn is the first to go into the referee’s book and is given a yellow card for a high challenge on a Monaghan player.
But Conor McManus skews his free wide of the Donegal uprights on 11 minutes.
On 13 minutes Paul Durcan spread himself down low to stop a near certain Monaghan goal.
But he picked up the ball from the ground and gave away a free to Monaghan.
Conor McManus kicked the point of his hands and levels the scoring at 3 points each.
Dessie Moan looked like he would score on 15 minutes but he pumped his shot wide of the posts – his second wide of the game.
Donegal’s second wide of the game came on 17 minutes when Conor McFadden’s left-footed shop sails wide.
On 19 minutes Ryan McHugh looked certain to score a point but his shot hits the upright but no Donegal players are in the box to catch the rebound.
Up the pitch Dessie Moan fell down under a challenge from Michael Murphy in an off-the-ball tackle. Monaghan believe it is a ‘black card’ offence but the referee doesn’t agree.
Donegal get their third wide on 24 minutes when full back Neil McGee goes through but his right-footed shot curled wide.
Monaghan take the lead for the first time when Owen Duffy took a great 40 ft pass and in one move he fires over the Donegal bar.
Donegal’s Neil McGee and Monaghan’s Conor McManus both receive yellow cards on 27 minutes for an off-the-ball incident.
And Donegal’s defence was lacking again when on 29 minutes Monaghan’s Kieran Duffy catches a high ball and drills over the bar.
Monaghan stretched their lead to five points.
Then on 31 minutes Conor McManus scores after Christy Toye is forced hand pass the ball away.
That’s five points in a row from Monaghan with no reply from Donegal who haven’t scored in 25 minutes.
Micheal Murphy scores on 33 minutes from a free to cut the Monaghan lead to two points.
Christy Toye is taken off and is replaced by Martin O’Reilly.
But Monaghan stretched their lead by to three points with a 30 yard shot from Dessie Moan. 0-7 to 04 to Monaghan.
The 35 minutes were up but the referee is playing an one minute of extra time.
And Conor McManus adds more to Donegal’s woes when he picked up a wayward pass from Michael Murphy and scores.
0-8 to 0-4 to Monghan at the end of the first half.