It was a winning start to this year’s Oscar Traynor Cup for the Donegal League side as they secured victory over the Monaghan/Cavan League in Bonagee yesterday.
Despite a comfortable performance for much of the game, the home side had to soak up some late pressure when a late goal from the visitors threatened to upset their plans of recording a winning start to this year’s competition.
From the kick off Donegal went on the attack and pinned their opposition back in their own half as they settled into the game.
Mathhew Crossan hit a threatening cross that was cleared. Shane O’Rourke sent Gary Merritt on the attack but that opportunity was cut out.
Monaghan/Cavan’s Sean Duffy launched their first meaningful attack but it was well defended.
Donegal continued to press and in the 11th minute Damien Crossan found Richie Moore whose lobbed effort went just wide. A second Moore attempt was cleared off the line by Shane McCann, but the Donegal man would make amends just a minute later.
Another sweeping Donegal attack looked to have been defended but Richie Moore collected the ball and went crashing to the ground under a challenge as he sought space inside the Monaghan/Cavan box.
He dusted himself down and stepped up to hit a well placed penalty into the corner past ‘keeper Conor Forde to make it 1-0 after 14 minutes.
With their tails up, Donegal continued to press and may have had calls for a second penalty soon after but they were waved away by the referee.
Merritt forced a good save from the visiting keeper while Philip White also threatened. Joey Cullen looked lively on the wing.
Monaghan finally began to get on the ball and out of their own half but the only half chance they had came just before half time. A fine run from Sean Duffy found Mark Mulligan who failed to get his shot away.
After the restart Donegal forced a couple of corners with Richie Moore and Matthew Crossan getting touches to them but not enough.
Kevin Kelly and Benny McLaughlin both made an impact when they came on as substitutes for Donegal.
Monaghan/Cavan’s first meaningful attack of the half came when a brilliant long ball was fed through to Mark Mulligan but his bouncing shot came up and off the bar. At the other end minutes later, Gary Merritt hit an inch perfect pass across the goal that Joey Cullen launched himself at full stretch for but his header didn’t get the contact it required to send the ball goalward.
In the 82nd minute another Donegal attack pressed with Benny McLaughlin striding down the middle and just as it looked as if two opposition defenders were set to halt his progress he burst through them and his low shot hit the net to leave it 2-0.
Monaghan substitute Caolan Kelly’s shot rattled the Donegal crossbar as they sought a response.
In the 86th minute they eventually got the breakthrough when Ronan Sterritt put Sean Duffy through to hit the net.
However, it was all too late as Donegal held on for the victory.
It was a well deserved win for Brian Dorrian’s side.
Donegal League: Lee White, Eoin Sheridan, Shane O’Rourke, Ryan Sheridan, Matthew Crossan,Glen Gallagher, Philip White (Benny McLaughlin 59), Damien Crossan (Kevin Kelly 59 mins), Gary Merritt, Richie Moore (Dara Patton 74), Joey Cullen.
Monaghan/Cavan League: Conor Forde, Tommy Toal, Paddy Smith (Ronan Stirrat 45 mins), Jim Murphy, Colm McKenna, Shane McCann, Mark Mulligan, Emmet McCrudden (Caol.an Reilly 53), Sean Duffy, Paul Smyth, Kevin Loughran.
Referee: Patrick Martin.