Drumragh Gaa Club just outside Omagh provided an excellent setting and facilities for this keenly contest Ulster Under 17 Jim Mc Guigan Cup Final between Donegal and Monaghan. After a good start with the wind at their backs Donegal raced to a 0-05 to 0-01 and then a 0-07 to 0-02 lead but by half-time an impressive Monaghan team had turned that around to lead by 1-09 to 0-09 and went on to take the victory with a strong second-half performance. DONEGAL 1-12 V 2-21 MONAGHAN. Donegal started well and got five of the game’s opening six points. Shane O Donnell, Leo Dunphy , Nathan Byrne, Eric Carr and Dunphy again all scored from play , while the very impressive Jason Irwin replied for Monaghan. Irwin got his second in the 11th minute but Carr and Dunphy added further points for Gary Duffy’s young Donegal side to give them a five point lead at the end of the first quarter. That’s as good as it got for Donegal in this final as Monaghan began to find their feet and in doing so looked very dangerous going forward. Midfielder Andrew Moore had looked good with strong runs from deep and another of those produced the game’s opening goal. His attempt was blocked but the rebound fell kindly for Jason Irwin who tucked the ball confidently past keeper Corey Byrne. Two quick points by Jordan Mc Garrell and Irwin left it level in the 18th minute. Shane O Donnell restored Donegal’s lead from a free but points by Aaron Mulligan and his first of seven by Sean Jones had Monaghan ahead for the first time in the game in the 20th minute. Leo Dunphy replied for Donegal with his fourth point of the half but Monaghan’s tail was now up and they got the final three points of the half. The first of those could easily have been a goal, Corey Byrne produced a brillant save to deny Irwin before Mulligan tapped over and Karl Gallagher and Jones got the others to leave Monaghan ahead at the break by 1-09 to 0-09. CHARLIE COLLINS REPORTS FROM DRUMRAGH. Now facing the strong breeze Donegal needed a good start to the second-half but unfortunately for them the opposite happened. Less than a minute in Monaghan wing-back Jordan Mc Garrell launched a high ball in, big full-forward Loughlin Power reached high to field it and then hammered the ball low past Byrne to give his team a six point lead. Five more Monaghan points in a row from Jones x3 ,Mulligan, and Irwin To leave eleven points in it meant it was game over in terms of a contest at 2-14 to 0-09. Eric Carr got Donegal’s first score of the second-half in the 42nd minute, Mulligan Repliedand then after good work by Shane O Donnell and Senan Rooney created the opening sub Dylan Doogan steered home a Donegasl goal from close range. O Donnell added a point but two from Jones and one from Gallagher made it 2-18 to 1-11. Doogan got Donegal’s last score but Monaghan finished in style with points from subs Robbie Hanratty and Michael Meehan and between those a third of the game from Karl Gallagher to round off a very impressive fifteen point win for Seamus ‘ Banty ‘ Mc Ananey ‘s very talented Monaghan squad. Donegal had a good run in this competition and must now ready themselves for a tough championship challenge against Tyrone. DONEGAL ; Corey Byrne , Aaron Gilooley, Killian Gildea , Caolan Gallagher , Eric Carr ( 0-03 ), Shane Gillespie , Jamie Grant , Michael Coughlan , Rory O Donnell, Shane O Donnell ( 0-03 2f ), Anthony Doherty , Stephen Mc Fadden , Senan Rooney , Nathan Byrne ( 0-01 ) , Leo Dunphy ( 0-04 ). SUBS : Johnny Toye for Mc Fadden ( 30mins ) , Dylan Duggan ( 1-01 )for Coughlin ( h/t ) , Charles Breslin for Grant ( h./t ) , Josh Conlon for Dunphy ( 45mins ) , Seamus Og Byrne for Rooney ( 59mins ). MONAGHAN ; Ryan Farrelly , Jack McGeown , Jack Doogan , Shane Hanratty. , Christopher Flood , Breandan Og O’ Dufaigh , Jordan Mc Garrell ( 0-01 ) , Andrew Moore , Joel Wilson , Aaron Mulligan ( 0-04 2f ) , Sean Jones ( 0-7 2f ) , Karl Gallagher ( 0-03 ), Donnacha Swinburne , Loughlin Power ( 1-0 ) , Jason Irwin ( 1-04 ). SUBS USED. ; Michael Meehan ( 0-01 ) , Ronan Mc Keown , Robbie Hanratty ( 0-01f ) , Oisín O Hanlon , Leon Mc Cabe . REFEREE ; Micheal Moore ( Down )
Donegal under 17’s beaten in Jim McGuigan Cup Final.
Author of 'Boxing In Donegal: A History (2021)' - the definitive history of the sport in County Donegal - and 'Relentless: A Race Through Time', the 2019 memoir of former Irish Athletics Team Manager Patsy McGonagle. From St Johnston and now based in Letterkenny, Chris was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.