Roisin Friel’s early goal helped power Donegal’s ladies to a routine win over Monaghan that keeps them sitting pretty at the top of Division 1.
Donegal 2-17 Monaghan 0-7
By Chris McNulty at O’Donnell Park. Photos by Joe Boland, North West News Pix
Friel’s goal was the architect for a 16-point win that maintained Maxi Curran’s team’s perfect start to their 2019 campaign.
Friel’s goal had Donegal 1-8 to 0-2 in front at half-time and Julie Trearty, a substitute, riffled home a second in the 46th minute.
Geraldine McLaughlin provided the assist provided the assists for both and the Termon sharp-shooter weighed in with seven points of her own.
After points from Leanne Maguire and Ciara McAnespie in the first two minutes got Monaghan off and running, Donegal took charge.
McLaughlin landed three points in 80 seconds to turn the tide in Donegal’s favour.
Donegal got the game’s opening goal in the seventh minute – and it was one well worth the admission fee for those who arrived in for the early throw-in.
The move started when Nicole McLaughlin robbed Monaghan of possession with a superb interception. Via a quick transfer through Ciara Grant, Geraldine McLaughlin took hold of things, finding Friel with a majestic pass.
McLaughlin’s pass cut Monaghan open in an instant. Friel’s finish was cool and composed to put Donegal five in front.
Karen Guthrie, after a rapid Donegal move down the left channel, added to the tally before Donegal were reprieved when Maguire drilled against the base of Aisling Nee’s post.
Friel was into the starting XV with Donegal showing just one changes from the side that toppled Mayo 3-10 to 2-7 in Convoy a fortnight ago.
Friel had a sight of the target again soon after, but flashed wide, while a brave goal-line block by Hannah McSkane prevented Friel from turning in at the post after Ciara Grant’s ball in dropped invitingly.
The Farney arrived in Letterkenny having been bettered by Westmeath and Galway in their opening pair of games and they were nine behind at the break here, with Donegal 1-8 to 0-2 in front at the short whistle.
A new-look Donegal, shorn a number of key performers from their 2018 campaign, have been brimming with confidence.
An opening night win at Croke Park against reigning All-Ireland and League champions Dublin laid the foundations and a follow-up triumph over Mayo left the Tir Chonaill woman in a neat position coming into this one.
After the goal, Karen Guthrie, Niamh Hegarty, Katy Herron and Shannon McGroddy put Donegal into a commanding lead. The scores dried up for the latter part of the first half with McGroddy’s 18th minute point the last of the opening chapter.
Within five minutes of the re-start, a Guthrie brace and scores from Niamh Carr and Friel had pushed Donegal’s lead out to 13.
Even before Trearty hammered past Brídín Tierney for Donegal’s second goal, it was game, set and match for Donegal, but the Downings woman’s major was the coup de grace.
Donegal: Aisling Nee; Treasa Doherty, Emer Gallagher, Niamh Carr (0-1); Amy Boyle Carr, Nicole McLaughlin, Niamh Boyle; Katy Herron (0-2), Karen Guthrie (0-3, 1f); Shannon McGroddy (0-1), Niamh Hegarty (0-1), Megan Ryan; Geraldine McLaughlin, Roisin Friel (1-1), Ciara Grant. Subs: Julie Trearty (1-0) for Grant (43), Nicole Gordon for Boyle (43), Evelyn McGinley for McGroddy (48), Elaine Melaugh for Friel (48), Anna Flanagan for N.Carr (54), Kaneshia McKinney for A.Boyle-Carr (54), Shannon McLaughlin for Herron (58), Sinead McGinty for Ryan (58), Lauren Carr (0-1f) for Guthrie (58), Tara Hegarty for N Hegarty (58), Aoife McColgan for Nee (59).
Monaghan: Brídín Tierney; Lisa Flynn, Niamh Kerr, Hannah McSkane; Sarah Boyd, Aoife McAnespie, Shauna Coyle; Muireann Atkinson, Rosemary Courtney (0-1); Chloe McBride, Cora Courtney (0-1), Eimear McAnespie; Eva Woods, Leanne Maguire (0-3, 1f), Ciara McAnespie (0-1). Subs: Brionan McAleer for C.McAnespie (half-time), Eadaoin Treanor (0-1) for C.Treanor (41), Rebecca Hughes for McSkane (50), Lisa Flynn for Boyd (57), Rachel McConnell for Maguire (57).
Referee: Gerry Carmody (Mayo).