Donegal are Lidl Ladies National Foootball League champions and are back in the top flight of ladies football once again following Saturday’s Division Two final win over Westmmeath.
Donegal ran out comfortable 13-point winners as their lethal inside line wreaked havoc with Yvonne McMonagle, Geraldine McLaughlin and Amber Barrett racking up 3-12 between them.
McMonagle was the star turn with a 2-5 haul from play, McLaughlin kicked six points, including four frees, and Barrett added 1-2, including a crucial first half goal.
Midfielder Karen Guthrie was another player to excel and goalkeeper Aoife McColgan was brilliant too, pulling off some vital saves in both halves.
Donegal lost two players in the final ten minutes to yellow cards but finished with a flourish to deny Westmeath.
The winners were well in control, leading by 1-7 to 0-4, at the end of a first half that saw Westmeath register eight wides.
Barrett’s goal in the 18th minute helped to provide the buffer, as the corner forward punched the ball to the net after Niamh Hegarty’s long-range free bounced back into play off the crossbar.
Aoife McColgan pulled off the game’s outstanding save, taking a heavy knock for her troubles in the process.
Four minutes before the break, Laura Walsh looked set to tap the ball into an empty net but McColgan took the ball off the Westmeath full-forward’s toe as she prepared to pull the trigger.
Westmeath did start well, a pair of Leona Archibald frees putting them two points clear, but Donegal were back level by the seventh minute.
Karen Hegarty kicked an eighth-minute point for Westmeath but they wouldn’t score again until the final minute of the half.
Donegal took over, hitting 1-5 without reply and that proved a match-winning platform.
During the second half, Donegal were content to keep the scoreboard ticking over and they managed to do so, while McColgan excelled again with a full-length stop to keep out Walsh’s low drive 13 minutes from time.
Donegal had Ciara Hegarty sin-binned with nine and a half minutes left – with Katy Herron following suit five minutes from time.
After Westmeath had cut what was once an eleven-point deficit back to seven, Donegal put the game beyond any doubt when McMonagle took a brilliant pass from McLaughlin for a second goal six minutes from the end.
And McMonagle completed her brace near the end to put the icing on a sweet-tasting Donegal cake.
Donegal: Aoife McColgan; Teresa Doherty, Emer Gallagher, Kelly Wilson; Therese McCafferty, Ciara Hegarty, Deirdre Foley; Katy Herron (0-1), Karen Guthrie (0-4, 2f); Eilish Ward, Niamh Hegarty, Gráinne Houston; Geraldine McLaughlin (0-6, 4f), Yvonne McMonagle (2-5, Amber Barrett (1-1). Subs: Kate Keeney for Wilson (39), Shannon McGroddy for Foley (48), Roisin Friel for N Hegarty (57), Blaithnaid McLaughlin for G McLaughlin (57).
Westmeath: S Keegan; F Coyle, L Brennan, T Durkan, F Claffey (0-1), J Rogers, A Martin; M A Foley, K McDermott; C Blundell (0-1), L Archibald (0-7, 7f), J Maher; R O'Connor, L Walsh (0-2), K Hegarty (0-2). Subs: L McCarton for J Maher (20), C Kelly for R O'Connor (h/t) S McGrath for F Coyle (48), A Brady for T Durkan (52).
Referee: K Delahunty (Tipperary).