DONEGAL AND MONAGHAN MUST DO IT ALL AGAIN

REPLAY BACK IN BREFFNI PARK ON SATURDAY NEXT

DONEGAL AND MONAGHAN MUST DO IT ALL AGAIN
Peter Campbell sport@donegaldemocrat.com @dgldemocrat

Donegal will get a second bite at the cherry on Saturday next in their quest for a sixth Ulster final in-a-row.

There will be plenty of post mortems this week as they let a two point lead slip in added time as Monaghan drew level. Protecting leads had been a forte of Donegal in recent times and the calm needed in the final minutes was missing.

Three Conor McManus pointed frees in those closing minutes deprived Donegal of a famous victory as the semi-final ended deadlocked.

Donegal will point to missed frees and 16 unforced errors as well as again finishing the game with 14 men for the final 20 minutes after Martin McElhinney was red carded after picking up a yellow and black.

But while there was plenty for Donegal to work on, the sheer determination they showed when 0-10 to 0-7 down early in the second half was remarkable.

A well finished goal from Odhran Mac Niallais - his third in the Ulster Championship so far - got Donegal back in the lead.

"It was backs to the wall and I thought we showed great character. We were disappointed to lose Marty (McElhinney)," said Donegal manager, Rory Gallagher afterwards.

Donegal created three clear goal chances in the game, but only took one of them, which is also something to work on.

"We had a goal chance at the start of the second half and then we found ourselves 10-7 down, which is a lot in a game like that," said Gallagher.

In a helter skelter finish, Eoin McHugh edged Donegal two clear, but twice Conor McManus hit frees from outside the '45' to level, and when Christy Toye fisted over in the 74th minute, it seemed as if Donegal had done enough, but McManus availed of a free given away for a late tackle to leave it all square with virtually the last kick of the game.

There was some controversy near the end with Donegal twice having an extra player on the field and there was a coming together of a Donegal official and a Monaghan player, which could mean disciplinary action taken against Donegal.

The sides will be back in Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday next with the throw-in again at 7 p.m.

McGEE APPEAL

It is learned that Donegal have not given up on having Neil McGee available for the replay. Donegal have the avenue of the CAC (Central Appeals Committee) and a decision on whether to appeal McGee's two match ban will be made early this week. McGee lost his appeal to the Central Appeals' Committee last week.

MINORS THROUGH

The Donegal minors, unlike the seniors, finished strongly to book their place in the Ulster final with a 3-15 to 2-12 win over Monaghan. They will meet Derry in the final.

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