Two goals inside the first six minutes ensured victory for Donegal at Tirconaill Park, Donegal town yesterday.
Donegal . . . . . . 2-7
Cavan . . . . . . . . 1-2
The eight point margin puts Donegal, unbeaten in all outings in the league, on top of Division 2.
Those goal came on three minutes when a high ball into Milford’s Amber Barrett saw her field it well and turn to hit the net. Three minutes later the move of the game saw Barrett kick long to Yvonne McMonagle who laid it off to Termon’s Geraldine McLaughlin. She instinctively struck for goal finding the bottom corner.
Both sides had chances in the next 20 minutes, the highlight of the action a superb save from Donegal’s young keeper Aoife McColgan.
An unfortunate clash between Amber Barrett and a Cavan defender left both needing attention and Barrett subsequently was replaced by Blathnaid McLaughlin. In first half injury time the Breffni county finally got off the mark with a well taken point from wing forward Roisin O’Keefe to leave the half time score 2-03 to 0-01 in favour of Donegal.
Donegal attacked from the second half throw in with a move involving Yvonne McMonagle and Niamh Hegarty resulting in a free for Donegal which Karen Guthrie tapped over. Cavan showed their potential from the kickout moving the ball quickly up the field with Caitriona Smith finding the Donegal net.
They had another another point minutes later from Doonan to leave it 2-04 to 1-02.
Karen Guthrie added two frees to keep the scoreboard ticking over for Donegal.
Both sides exchanged wides as the breeze picked up. In the 28th minute Cavan had another goal effort saved well and their midfielder Rosie Crowe was sin binned for the remainder of the game. Niamh Hegarty scored a superb point in injury time as she carried the ball around three Cavan defenders.
Donegal: Aoife McColgan, Teresa Doherty, Emer Gallagher, Nicole McLaughlin, Theresa McCafferty, Ciara Hegarty, Deirdre Foley, Katy Herron, Karen Guthrie, Amber Barrett, Niamh Hegarty, Grainne Houston, Eilish Ward, Yvonne McMonagle, Geraldine McLaughlin. Subs: Blathnaid McLaughlin for Barrett (30 mins); Kate Keaney for Katie Herron (56 mins).
Donegal manager Micheál Naughton said he was “very pleased” with the manner of the victory and despite the margin, it was he said, a sterner test than the scoreline would suggest.
“Conditions were difficult for both teams and in a sense we won the game in the first ten minutes with those two excellent early goals, but we were certainly tested, as much by the difficult conditions as by Cavan.
“We may well end up meeting Cavan in a league final, they now play Clare and of course we have then in a championship semi-final too in June, so it was good to win this one.”
Donegal will now meet Westmeath in their league semi-final on the weekend of April 23rd/24th.
Donegal beat Westmeath in their first league game, a match played on astro-turf which Naughton recalls: “We were lucky to win, scoring two late goals to get out of jail, so this semi will be a real test.”
Amber Barrett who was taken off with a head injury following an accidental clash of heads with a Cavan players was brought to letterkenny University Hospital where it’s understood she required a number of stitches to a head injury.