Donegal hurlers go down to late Monaghan strike

Staff Reporter


Staff Reporter

Donegal hurlers go down to late Monaghan strike

A point by man of the match Donal Meegan saw a resilient Monaghan snatch the narrowest of victories over Donegal in this absorbing contest in Castleblayney.

Monaghan 1-21

Donegal 3-14

This is a game though that Donegal will look back on as one they could have won, in that they were in a position to push on for victory when they led by four points going into the final quarter and Monaghan down to 14 players.

But they failed to capitalise on a number of chances and again conceded too many frees at the other end that cost them dearly.

Earlier Monaghan started brightly and led by 1-4 0-1 at the end of the opening quarter, the goal by Brian McGuigan was scored in the 9th minute.

Monaghan could have been further in front at that stage but they were wide of the target on a couple of occasions and had a penalty saved by Donegal ‘keeper Paul Burns, who came to his side’s rescue on a number of occasions.

Donegal opened their account with a point from a free by Lee Henderson in the 13th minute and while Monaghan responded for two points in quick succession, Donegal then reeled off six in-a-row from Declan Coulter, David Flynn and Lee Henderson with two each and Cathal Doherty, to draw level by the 29th minute.

Monaghan regained the lead briefly but Donegal then struck for an opportunist goal by Danny Cullen to take the lead for the first time.

Donegal led at half-time by 1-7 to 1-6.

Monaghan started the second-half well to draw level with a good point from Sean Leonard, whose battle with Joe Boyle was one of the features of the game.

Donegal regained the lead through Niall Cleary but Monaghan then reeled off six unanswered points - Donal Meegan with three frees, Eanna MacSuibhne, free, and Martin Murphy, to open a four points lead.  

But they then suffered a blow when Tadgh Campbell was dismissed on a second yellow card. Donegal now grabbed the initiative to hit an unanswered 2-2, the goals by David Flynn and Richie Kee, to open a four points lead and hold the momentum.

From there to the finish though it was helter-skelter stuff, with Donal Meegan repeatedly punishing defensive indiscretions from placed balls and Donegal were then reduced numerically when Joe Boyle was sent off on a second yellow card to make for a sizzling finish to a contest that could have gone either way .

Donegal fought back to parity three minutes into stoppage time with two  points from Lee Henderson, one from a long range free, but Monaghan struck for the winner a minute later to seal a memorable victory.

MONAGHAN: H Byrne, J Guinan, P Finnegan, B Flanagan, B Connor, P Treanor, M Murphy (0-2), E Mac Suibhne (0-3,1f, 1’65’), M Treanor (0-1), F Rafter, S Leonard (0-2), C Meegan, D Meegan (0-12,10f), T Campbell, B McGuigan(1-0). Subs: C Boyle for B Connor (23), S Forde for C Meegan (27), PJ Boyle (0-1) for S Forde (57).

DONEGAL: P Burns, D Grant, A Stokes, P Doherty, J O’Loughlin, J Boyle (0-1), N Cleary (0-1), D Cullen (1-0), L Henderson (0-6,5f), E McDermott (0-1), R Kee (1-1), D Flynn (1-2), C Doherty  (0-1), K Campbell, D Coulter (0-1). Subs: C Rami  for A Stokes (52), P Nelson for C Doherty (56).

REFEREE: K McGeeney (Roscommon).