Donegal Town beat their Monaghan counterparts to the Holmes on Saturday last in what proved to be a very entertaining encounter.
This was the third meeting of the teams this season with honours split as Monaghan’s quarter-final cup win knocked Donegal out two weeks ago.
Donegal pinned Monaghan back in the opening exchanges with excellent kicking from Pete Cannon and Donagh O’Callaghan. Jimmy Brogan scored the first points of the match after a strong pick from a ruck led to a try eight minutes in with Cannon adding the conversion. The home team’s pressure told as an offside in the ruck led to a penalty 30 yards out with Cannon again converting. Before half-time O’Callaghan kicked leaving it 13-10 at half-time.
After four scrums five yards from the Donegal line the referee awarded a penalty try with the Donegal scrum feeling the pressure without their full contingent, the gap was closing. It was now Donegal 13-7.
Similar to Brogan’s earlier try, Monaghan’s tighthead picked from the ruck and scored with the kick being converted putting them in the lead for the first time in the match 14-13. Donegal restarted the game and won a penalty almost immediately after Monaghan killed off the ball in a ruck. Cannon kicked the points leaving Donegal ahead 16-14 with 15 minutes remaining on the clock.
Then, Gareth McMurray ran the short side breaking the first tackle and offloaded to Rory Boyle to his left who carried the ball 10 yards eventually being brought down. He offloaded to Declan Gallagher who drew the defence and gave a smart pass to Cannon who ran 40 yards to score Donegals second try which he converted himself and killed off opposition hopes of a comeback. A penalty which followed was converted by Cannon brought the game to an end.
The win leaves Donegal second in the league with two matches remaining, one against Belfast High School Former Players and the other against league leaders Randlestown. Things could still be on a knife edge come the final game of the season.
Team: Capt Neville Connaghan, Emmet Brogan, Ronan Haughey, Shaun Mahon, Mark O’ Donnell, Ronan Gillespie, Shane Gillespie, Jimmy Brogan, Pete Cannon, Donagh O’ Callaghan, Lee Moseley, Gareth McMurray, Declan Gallagher, Declan Bushell, Rory Boyle. Coach Cornie Carr