Donegal goal scoring machine strikes once again

Donegal picked up another three precious league points with this victory over Laois in Ballyshannon on Sunday afternoon.

Once again it was the Donegal goalscoring machine of Yvonne McMonagle, Geraldine McLaughlin, Eilish Ward and Niamh Hegarty that did the business for the home side.

Donegal posted four goals against Galway in the opening game and the hit five against the Midlanders, who were last year’s All-Ireland semi-finalists.

And it was the Donegal girl’s ability to plunder goals that proved the difference between the teams with McMonagle kicking two and Ward, McLaughlin and Hegarty hitting one each.

All but McLaughlin’s strike came in the second half as Donegal came from 2-5 to 1-5 down at the break.

Termon teenager McLaughlin got the goal rush under way just before half-time as her 26th minute strike dragged Donegal back on level terms and into a game that was going Laois’s way.

Like Donegal in the second half, Laois played all the football in the first period as Tracey Lawlor, Anna Moore, Martina Dunne and Noreen Kirwan caused the Donegal defence endless problems.

Indeed but from a good save from Roisin McCafferty from Sinead Doogue and some wayward shooting the Leinster girls would have been more than three points up at the interval.

Donegal, through the industry and workrate of Karen Guthrie and Aoife McDonnell in midfield and the prodding and probing of Niamh Hegarty and Roisin Friel, just about kept in touch early on.

Laois led 1-3 to 0-2 at the end of the first quarter with points from Tracey Lawlor, one from Martha Kirwan and a ninth minute Maureen Young goal.

As Laois continued to press Karen Guthrie and Karen Feeney raised white flags and Roisin McCafferty’s saved from Doogue meant Donegal were within striking distance.

Laois were leading 1-5 to 0-5 when McMonagle released McLaughlin to tie up the game six minutes before half-time.

Donegal had a number of chances to take the lead before they were hit with a second Laois goal when Young once again pounced in injury time to send the visitors in three up at the break.

The early minutes of the second half were pretty even with McLaughlin and Lawlor trading points before Donegal cranked into action.

And in the space of five minutes with goals from Eilish Ward and McMonagle and a penalty save from McCafferty the game was turned on its head.

Ward struck for the first of the second half three pointers on 35 minutes when she got a flick to a high ball into Laois goalmouth to beat Caoimhe Dollard.

Seconds later McCafferty got down well to save Noreen Kirwan’s spot kick and Donegal were on their way shortly afterwards when McDonnell, Guthrie and Niamh Hegarty combined for McMonagle to drill home goal number three and a 3-6 to 2-6 lead.

Despite losing Rosin Friel to the sin-bin for ten minutes Donegal continued to press. And with McMonagle finally escaping the shackles of Aishling Quigley, the Glenfin woman added a further point followed by a goal to extend the advantage out to seven points 4-7 to 2-6.

It was game set and match in the early minutes of the final quarter when Niamh Hegarty raced through from half-forward to smack of the underside of the crossbar for goal number five.

Laois did respond with late points from Noreen and Martha Kirwan and Martha Dunne, but it was all academic.

Donegal: Roisin McCafferty: Kelly Wilson, Tanya Kennedy, Niamh Friel; Grainne Houston, Kate Keaney, Deirdre Foley; Aoife McDonnell (0-1), Karen Guthrie (0-1); Roisin Friel, Niamh Hegarty (1-0), Karen Feeney (0-1); Eilish Ward (1-1), Yvonne McMonagle (2-2), Geraldine McLaughlin (1-0). Subs: Katie Herron for R. Friel 60; Orla Carr for K. Wilson 60.

Laois: Caoimhe Dollard; Aishling Quigley, Grainne Dunne, Ellen Healy; Jane Moore, Laura Hyland, Aishling O’Gorman; Angela Casey, Tracey Lawlor (0-3,2f); Martha Kirwan (0-2), Noreen Kirwan (0-3,1f), Sinead Doogue; Martina Dunne (0-1), Anna Moore, Maureen Young (2-0). Subs: Danni Callinan for A. Casey 40,inj.; Mags McEvoy for A. O’Gorman 51.

Referee: Tommy McSorley (Tyrone).