Armagh came from three points down to force a draw with Monaghan in the second Ulster senior semi-final at Clones on Saturday evening.
Donegal will have to wait until Sunday evening next to know who they will face in the decider on July 20th.
Monaghan led for most of the match, thanks to the accuracy of ‘keeper Rory Beggan, who kicked five frees, but Armagh were not to be denied as they rallied and Rory Grugan hit the equaliser from a 35-metre free with the last kick of the game in added time.
The full Donegal management team of Jim McGuinness, Damien Diver, Paul McGonigle and John Duffy were given a grandstand seat for the encounter, just behind the Armagh dugout and they could not but be impressed by the intensity of both sides with free space hard to find.
The sides were level 0-6 each at the break and it looked as if Monaghan were going to prevail when they went 0-14 to 0-11 ahead with six minutes of normal time left, but they were pegged back.
Donegal mentor John Duffy, like most at the match, really enjoyed the encounter.
“It was a great game,” he said. “I thought Armagh played the better football. I know they got the late point but on the balance of play they deserved the draw. They have the three boys (Andy Mallon, Brendan Donaghy and Kieran Toner) coming back in from suspension so their tails will be up for the replay.
“Funny before the game, I couldn’t see past Monaghan, but after the game you’re thinking Armagh are right in the mix here. They should have nothing to fear.
“You have to analyse it and hope to see places where you can make hay. They are two good teams, there’s no question about it.
“The Monaghan ‘keeper kicked very sweetly but I suppose you can’t give frees inside the ‘45’ to any team. Most teams have a player who can kick those now.
“Whoever is going to be there is going to be there on merit and will bring a lot to the table. Ulster finals are always a battle. In many ways the winners will have an extra game under their belt.”
Ardara’ Paddy McGrath was the only casualty of the club fixture list yesterday as he left the field towards the end of their game with Termon. Karl Lacey put in a great shift with Four Masters, scoring 1-2 in their win over Malin, while Rory Kavanagh and Neil Gallagher both sat out the clash between St Eunan’s and Glenswilly.
Neil McGee was replaced late in the Ulster semi-final with a foot injury and missed Gaoth Dobhair’s win over StMichael’s.
The Donegal minor management in Clones are now planning for a final against Armagh after the Orchard county struck late with three points to overcome Monaghan by 1-8 to 0-9.
Overall, it was a disappointing game. Donegal have already met Armagh in the semi-final of the Minor League and they will be hoping for a similar result on 20th July.
In that game in O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny, Donegal were victorious by 1-9 to 0-5.