Donegal were defeated in their second and last game of the Dr. McKenna Cup in a two point loss to Monaghan in MacCumhaill Park.
Donegal 2-7 Monaghan 0-15
In a repeat of last year’s final, which saw Monaghan come out on top again, Joel Bradley Walsh on his first competitive start had a dream start, poking into the net after two minutes, while Luke McGlynn converted a penalty in the second half.
Monaghan however hit eight frees and two 45s as they took advantage of Donegal fouls.
Donegal started on the front foot and inside two minutes a long ball from Odhrán Doherty into Bradley Walsh bounced to Luke McGlynn at the back post, his shot rebounded off the post to Bradley Walsh who fired into the net with the outside of his foot.
Monaghan then got level inside the first ten minutes however, as a Bannigan free from close range and a Darren McDonnell free from near the 45 both went clear over, while Sean Jones could have had a goal when he was played in by Stephen O’Hanlon and with Mulreany coming out of his net, Jones’ kick went narrowly over the bar.
Marty O’Reilly put Paddy Carr’s men back in front as his kick from range curled inside the right hand post.
But Jones levelled again after feinting to shoot twice on the left hand side before taking it on at the third attempt and firing over, while O’Hanlon gave the Farney men the lead for the first time after 18 minutes, 0-5 to 1-1.
A five minute spell from either side added to the scoreline as Jamie Brennan converted a free, while two massive scores from Daire O’Baoill and Bradley Walsh had Donegal two up.
But Monaghan then hit four without reply as Micheál Bannigan got their first score in 10 minutes, hitting two frees in similar positions inside a minute.
Substitute Shane Carey then hit two quick scores in a row on the stroke of half-time, one firing over without any space in front of the posts then a less pressured score from the right, 0-9 to 1-4 at half-time.
A Bannigan free and a Rory Beggan 45 after a good save from Mulreany had Monaghan four ahead but a good score from a Johnny McGroddy free, Donegal’s first score in 30 minutes of play, had them a score off equalising.
And that chance came when Conor O’Donnell was pushed in the box and Glenfin’s Luke McGlynn got his first Donegal score when stepping up to take the penalty and firing into the bottom left corner, giving Beggan little chance to keep it out.
Monaghan kept capitalising on Donegal fouls however, with Bannigan and McCarron converting frees but a brilliant McGroddy free from near the 45 metre line and a Conor O’Donnell point as he cut inside had it level again heading into injury time.
But Bannigan quickl y scored his sixth free of the game and a Beggan 45 with two minutes of added time remaining sealed the victory for Monaghan, but both teams were knocked out in the group stage.
Donegal: Gavin Mulreany; Mark Curran, Caolan Ward, JR Molloy, Marty O’Reilly (0-1), Brendan McCole, Odhran Doherty; Stephen McMenamin, Domhnall Mac Giolla Bhríde; Johnny McGroddy (0-2f), Daire O’Baoill (0-1), Jamie Brennan (0-1f), Luke McGlynn (1-0), Joel Bradley Walsh (1-1), Kane Barrett.
Subs: Caolan McColgan for Curran (33 mins), Keelan Dunleavy, Conor O’Donnell (0-1) and Jack McSharry for Bradley Walsh, Barrett and Mac Giolla Bhríde (half-time), Jamie Grant for Jack McSharry (40 mins), Gary McFadden for JR Molloy (46 mins), Kieran Tobin and Phillip Doherty for O’Reilly and Odhran Doherty (56 mins)
Monaghan: Darren McDonnell (0-1f); Ryan Wylie, Kieran Duffy, Thomas McPhillips, Colm Lennon, Killian Lavelle, Kevin Loughran; Francie Hughes, Dessie Ward; Joel Wilson, Micheál Bannigan (0-6f), Shane Slevin, Jason Irwin, Stephen O’Hanlon (0-1), Sean Jones (0-2).
Subs: Shane Carey (0-2) for Irwin (25 mins), Fintan Kelly for Jones (32 mins), Rory Beggan (0-1, 45) and Jack McCarron (0-1f) for McDonnell, Kelly (half-time), Ryan O’Toole for McPhillips (39 mins), Kelly for Hughes (43 mins), Fabian Beggan for Wilson (49 mins), Kevin Sheridan for Slevin (66 mins)
Referee: Conor Dourneen (Cavan)