The Donegal three-in-a-row dream died a death in Clones as Monaghan proved much too strong, playing Donegal at their own game.
With Kieran Hughes putting on a display that will be difficult to match this year, the Farney men were on top from the first whistle as Donegal struggled to match their intensity.
The heatwave forecast did not arrive in Clones and conditions were as near as perfect as you would hope for.
There was some hope for Donegal supporters as they reached the half-time whistle only three points adrift, 0-5 to 0-2, but that was as close as Donegal would get.
Hughes was on fire in the second half and apart from the introduction of Neil Gallagher, who gave Donegal a lift, the reigning Ulster and All-Ireland champions were clutching at straws. Gallagher was near his best for the remainder of the game with some majestic fielding.
They did have two half chances of goals in the 52nd and 54th minutes but when they went wide of the posts, so too did any hopes of a comeback.
The first half was a disaster for Donegal, losing Mark McHugh after nine minutes after a clash with Stephen Gollogly.
By that stage they were four points in arrears as Darren Hughes (47 secs), Rory Beggan, Conor McManus and Padrsaig Donaghy had fired over Monghan points.
The traffic was just all one way with Monaghan pulling everyone back inside their own 45 when not in possession and then breaking at speed.
It was working a treat and a full 32 minutes had elapsed before Colm McFadden had Donegal’s opening score, a pointed free.
Rory Kavanagh did have a point awarded by an umpire earlier but it was knocked off after the intervention of linesman Cormac Reilly - it was that sort of day for Donegal.
There was further hope when Frank McGlynn came forward to finish a good move started by Paul Durcan just before the break.
The second half was the Kieran Hughes Show. He had three points on the board inside ten minutes, with Ryan McHugh getting the only response for Donegal.
Colm McFadden (free) and Dessie Mone traded points before Frank McGlynn and Michael Murphy saw goal efforts go just wide of the posts.
Colm McFadden and Rory Kavanagh did get points to reduce the deficit to two, but that was good as it got.
Monaghan pulled away and they could relax when substitutes Christopher McGuinness and Tommy Freeman added points.
Donegal simply had no answer to the Monaghan hunger. The fact that their inside trio of McBrearty, Murphy and McFadden did not score from play is a telling fact.
It was a poor finale to Donegal’s great run in Ulster under Jim McGuinness, winning ten matches in a row.
They have to pick up the pieces as they face Laois next weekend with a place in the quarter-finals in Croke Park at stake.
Donegal: Paul Durcan; Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Eamon McGee; Anthony Thompson, Karl Lacey, Frank McGlynn (0-1); Rory Kavanagh (0-1), Ryan Bradley; David Walsh, Leo McLoone, Mark McHugh; Patrick McBrearty, Michael Murphy, Colm McFadden (0-4,4f). Subs., David Walsh for M McHugh 9; Neil Gallagher for O’Reilly 22; Ross Wherity for McLoone 33; Ryan McHugh (0-1) for Walsh ht; Martin McElhinney for Bradley 64.
Monaghan: Rory Beggan (0-2,f, 45); Kieran Duffy, Drew Wylie, Colin Walshe ; Vincent Corey, Neil McAdam, Dessie Mone (0-1); Owen Lennon, Darren Hughes (0-1); Paul Finlay, Stephen Gollogly, Dermot Malone; Padraig Donaghy (0-1), Kieran Hughes (0-3), Conor McManus (04,4f). Subs., Gavin Doogan for Gollogly 9; Dick Clerkin for Doogan 51; Christopher McGuinness (0-1) for Malone 64; Tommy Freeman (0-1) for McManus 71.
Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)