A quick-fire start to the second half saw Donegal ladies maintain their perfect start to their Division 1 campaign as they saw off gallant Tipperary in Convoy.
Donegal 3-11 Tipperary 3-9
By Chris McNulty in Convoy. Pictures by Joe Boland, North West News Pix
Karen Guthrie, Róisín Friel and Geraldine McLaughlin hit the goals in a two-point win that puts Donegal into the semi-finals.
McLaughlin top-scored with 1-5 as Donegal staved off a rousing comeback from Tipp, who made a real game of it thanks to second-half majors from Anna Rose Kennedy and Roisin Howard.
Donegal didn’t score in the last 15 minutes, but Maxi Curran’s side are already assured of a semi-final berth.
Donegal were two in front, 1-7 to 1-5, at the break, and added two goals within seven minutes of the re-start.
Guthrie – who scored Donegal’s first half goal – and McLaughlin combined to work the chance for Friel, who coolly side-stepped to find the net for her second goal in a week, having netted against Monaghan last weekend.
McLaughlin tucked home Donegal’s third goal after a neat give-and-go with Friel to put the deficit out to ten points.
Tipp hit back when Anna Rose Kennedy fired past Aisling Nee for a goal and, with eight minutes left to play, the visitors were just five behind.
The hosts were in a sticky wicket when Howard drilled in her second goal of the day, but it was just too late for Tipp to strike a further blow.
Donegal got a dream start when McLaughlin improvised with a pass along the floor to Guthrie and the captain rounded ‘keeper Laura Fitzpatrick to net.
The dream turned into a nightmare when, just 60 seconds later, Howard’s attempt at a point deceived Donegal netminder Nee for an equalising goal.
Niamh Lonergan and Roisin Daly put Tipp in front before Niamh Hegarty drilled against a post as Donegal sought an immediate riposte.
Tipp’s tails were up as they arrived in the north west on the back of a stunning 3-13 to 1-18 win over Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn last Saturday, when Aishling Moloney scored 2-9.
Moloney arched over her first of the evening here to put three between them, but the Cahir woman was sent to the sin bin late in the opening half to put a severe chink in the visitors’ armour.
Donegal responded, with Guthrie, McLaughlin and Megan Ryan levelling things up.
Hegarty and McLaughlin put Donegal in front as they managed not to let the sin-binning of influential midfielder Katy Herron have fatal consequences.
The Donegal team showed one change from that which overcame Monaghan 2-17 to 0-7 in Letterkenny on Sunday, with Tara Hegarty coming in for Ciara Grant.
Donegal started their campaign like an express train, triumphing over Dublin, Galway and Monaghan and they got back on track here after a scare.
McLaughlin converted a brace of frees and was the provider for Niamh Hegarty as Donegal regained a foothold.
Donegal were fortunate not to concede a penalty and Tara Hegarty was certainly counting her stars after being handed a reprieve by referee Garryowen McMahon when she appeared to push over Roisin Daly.
Guthrie’s free in the final moments of the first half had Donegal 1-7 to 1-5 ahead at the break.
McLaughlin had a sight of goal within 20 seconds of the re-start, after Guthrie and Friel combined, but her delicate dink was clipped just wide of Lauren Fitzpatrick’s goal.
Soon, Donegal were toasting two goals and they were needed as Tipp hit back with a strong rally late in the game.
Donegal: Aisling Nee; Tara Hegarty, Emer Gallagher, Niamh Carr; Treasa Doherty, Nicole McLaughlin, Niamh Boyle; Katy Herron, Megan Ryan (0-1); Róisín Friel (1-0), Niamh Hegarty (0-1), Amy Boyle Carr; Geraldine McLaughlin (1-5, 2f), Karen Guthrie (1-4, 3f), Shannon McGroddy. Subs: Ciara Grant for McGroddy (44), Shannon McLaughlin for T.Hegarty (52).
Tipperary: Lauren Fitzpatrick; Emma Buckley, Laura Dillon, Emma Cronin; Brid Condon, Samantha Lambert, Cora Maher; Anna Rose Kennedy (1-0), Roisin McGrath; Niamh Lonergan (0-2), Aishling Moloney (0-4, 3f), Roisin Daly (0-1); Roisin Howard (2-1), Caoimhe Condon, Sarah Everard. Subs: Rachael O’Donnell for Dillon (33), Anna Carey (0-1) for Condon (39), Caitlin Kennedy for Lonergan (43), Courtney Lonergan for Everard (43).
Referee: Garryowen McMahon (Mayo).Tags: