Donegal failed to score in the final 28 minutes as Monaghan kicked the final five scores to win this afternoon’s last chance saloon Ulster MFC Qualifier Round 2.
Donegal 1-10 Monaghan 1-12
It means a championship conclusion for the side managed by Gary Duffy, who were comprehensively defeated by Tyrone in their Ulster opener two weeks ago. Today, they had victory in their grasp only to fall to the Monaghan team who overcame them in the league final in Drumragh last month.
The Donegal minor panel before this afternoon’s Ulster MFC Qualifier Round 2 fixture against Cavan at MacCumhaill Park. Photo Evan Logan
An excellent day of kicking for Séan Jones sealed a two point victory for Monaghan in Ballybofey.
Michael Meehan wasn’t named in the original starting squad for Monaghan but it was little surprise for most to see him line out. The Monaghan forward scored the first of the game with a gloriously executed effort off the outside of the right.
Loughlinn Power then seen the green flag raised after he punched into the net following a squared fist pass by Donnach Swinburne. The full forward did well to leap above Donegal keeper Corey Byrne.
Jason Irwin continued the flying start for the visitors, his point giving them a five point lead within six minutes of play.
Donegal then began to play their way into the game. First through a Jamie Toye free kick, an important score that was needed to disrupt Monaghan’s flow. Rory O’Donnell contested a Shane Gillespie ball into the square and the Monaghan keeper Ryan Farrelly fouled him. Padraig McGettigan dispatched the penalty perfectly, finding the top left corner.
Donegal looked set to get another goal through Rory O’Donnell after Farrelly scuffed his kick-out, but the full-forward’s effort hit the side netting.
Three free-kicks through Jonathan Toye, Shane O’Donnell and Josh Conlon extended the home sides lead to two points.
Séan Jones got Monaghan’s first score in sixteen minutes to put just one between the sides. A sublime effort from Josh Conlon added to Donegal’s lead then Shane Gillespie and Dylan Doogan knocked over further scores.
Séan Jones knocked over his second free to leave it 1-7 to 1-4 at the break in favour of Donegal.
Shane O’Donnell took under a minute to notch his first of the second-half. The St Eunans man took the ball on the loop and split the posts with a fine effort.
The accurate Séan Jones added to his tally of free-kicks for the day, but once again Donegal responded quickly. A sublime solo effort from Sean Gilhooley brought massive roars from the home support. The MacCumhaills man who is well used to the ground evaded a number of tackles before drawing his effort inside the post and over the bar.
Shane Gillespie added another driving forward from midfield to increase Donegal’s lead to four. To their credit, Monaghan were refusing to lie down and Séan Jones hit two more free-kicks to leave two points in it with minutes remaining.
Points from Andrew Moore and the second of the day from Jason Irwin levelled the game for the visitors leaving for an exciting finish to the game.
A sixth free from Séan Jones in the final minute of normal time proved to be the match winning score. Jason Irwin added another with the final kick of the game to give Monaghan a two point victory
Donegal: Corey Byrne; Aaron Gilhooley (0-1), Cillain Gildea, Anthony Doherty; Matthew Mullholland, Caolan Gallagher, Michael Coughlan; Shane Gillespie (0-1), Padraig McGettigan (1-0); Josh Conlon (02, 1f), Shane O’Donnell (0-3, 1f), Dylan Doogan (0-1); Eric Carr, Rory O’Donnell, Jonathan Toye (0-2, 2f). Subs used: Jamie Grant for Gallagher 43’, Charlie Breslin for Doogan 47’
Monaghan: Ryan Farrelly; Ronan Grimes, Jack Doogan, Shane Hanratty; Christopher Flood, Breandan Óg Ó Dufaigh, Jordan McGarrell; Andrew Moore (0-1), Joel Wilson; Michael Meehan (0-1), Séan Jones (0-6, 6f), Karl Gallagher (0-1); Donnach Swinburne, Loughlinn Power (1-0), Jason Irwin (0-3). Subs used: Oisin Hanlon for Joel Wilson HT, Robbie Hanratty for Gallagher (black card) 45’