Donegal made sure of their place in the last four of the Lidl Ladies Division Two National Football League with a comfortable ten point win over Clare in Fr. Tierney Park yesterday.
The win was Donegal’s fifth on the trot and they now top the Division Two table on their own having gone into yesterday’s tie on equal points with Clare.
Former All-Star Yvonne McMonagle scored 3-4 of Donegal’s tally with 3-3 coming in the opening 30 minutes as she turned in a player of the match performance.
Geraldine McLaughlin posted 1-5 with 1-4 of that scored in the second half as she took over from McMonagle in the scoring stakes in the second 30 minutes.
This was an all-round top class performance from Donegal who had big performances from Karen Guthrie and Katy Herron in midfield and Niamh Hegarty at centre half forward.
Clare got off to dream start and had 1-1 on the board inside the first four minutes. Full-forward Niamh O’Dea had the ball in the Donegal net on the minute mark after a dinky ball over the top from Clare Hester found the Donegal defence napping. O’Dea gave Laura Gallagher no chance from ten metres.
And the No. 14 converted from 20 metres three minutes later but McMonagle steadied the good ship Donegal with the first of her team's goals. That was on five minutes and it came after good approach play from Niamh Hegarty.
McMonagle levelled it two minutes later before she found the Clare net after NIamh Hegarty split open the Clare rearguard with a super pass.
Leading 2-2 to 1-2, Donegal pushed on with a further point from McMonagle. The Glenfin woman struck for goal No. 3 for a 3-3 to 1-3 lead with five minutes remaining in the half.
Donegal led 3-4 to 1-3 at half-time.
Donegal resumed where they left off before the break and the first action of the new period saw McMonagle hauled down on her way into the large rectangle.
Geraldine McLaughlin’s spot kick was well saved by Clare replacement goalkeeper Emma O’Driscoll.
But McLaughlin dusted herself down and got the scoreboard ticking over shortly after when she converted from close range.
Katy Herron, who had a fine game in the middle of the park, McMonagle, and two more McLaughlin strikes, one from a free, saw Donegal race into a 3-9 to 1-3 lead by the 42 minute mark.
Niamh O'Dea kicked Clare’s first of the second half on 43 minutes and when Aisling Consodine carved open the home defence for a brilliant individual goal one minute later, the margin was back to eight points, 3-9 to 2-4.
But with Amber Barrett on for Eilish Ward, Donegal pulled away again. McLaughlin (2) and Barrett pointed before McLaughlin brought down the curtain on the Donegal scoring with goal No. 4 with a little over ten minutes remaining.
Clare did add late points from Orla Devitt and Considine (2) as Donegal took the foot off the pedal and as the game fizzled out, Donegal manager Micheál Naughton ran his bench.
Donegal: Laura Gallagher; Teresa Doherty, Emer Gallagher, Nicole McLaughlin; Therese McCafferty, Ciara Hegarty, Deirdre Foley; Katy Herron (0-1), Karen Guthrie; Blathnaid McLaughlin, Niamh Hegarty, Grainne Houston; Eilish Ward, Yvonne McMonagle (3-4), Geraldine McLaughlin (1-5, 3f). Subs: Amber Barrett (0-1) for E Ward (44); Emer Bradley for T McCafferty , Kate Keaney for K McKenna (both 57).
Clare: Ciara Harvey; Eva O'Dea, Laurie Ryan, Graine Harvey; Roisin Consodine, Claire Hester, Ellie O'Gorman; Louise Henchy, Becky Mahon; Orla Devitt (0-1), Ailish Consodine (1-3, 2f); Roisin Howley; Aoife Keane, Niamh O'Dea (1-3, 2f), Sarah Bohannon. Subs: Emma O’Driscoll for C Harvey (h/t); Ciara Hickey for A McKenna (40).
Referee: Gus Chapman (Sligo).