Ciaran Thompson on the ball for Donegal against Monaghan
A 69th minute penalty by Conor McManus gave Monaghan a share of the spoils in Fr. Tierney Park, Ballyshannon after Donegal looked like winners
It was one that got away from Donegal. They l had all the possession in the second half but couldn’t get the gap past three points. They also hit nine second half wides to go along with the seven they hit in the first half. Apart from the penalty, Monaghan only managed two points but the goal proved crucial.
Indeed, their sharpshooter, Conor McManus, was largely anonymous, but when he was presented with the penalty chance, he was clinical.
Jack McCarron was the Monaghan star of the first half, hitting six points, as Monaghan had a one point advantage at the break, 0-9 to 1-5.
McCarron had the opening two points before Donegal hit back with a great goal. Ryan McHugh and Eoghan Ban Gallagher were the creators and Michael Carroll rattled it home. Donegal kept their noses in front until midway through the half when debut boy Michael Bannigan levelled matters for Monaghan and McCarron and Owen Duffy put them two ahead.
But points from Eoin McHugh and Michael Murphy (free) had Donegal level again before McCarron finished the half as he started, firing over his second point from play.
Monaghan had lost half-back Ryan McAnespie to injury after eight minutes and they also lost Dessie Ward on the stroke of half-time, black carded for hauling Ryan McHugh to the ground.
Donegal had the wind advantage in the second half and they had two points on the board on 36 seconds, Michael Murphy and Ciaran Thompson on target.
Scores were hard to come by but Murphy and substitute Patrick McBrearty stretched the Donegal lead to three by the 50th minute. Monaghan lost Owen Duffy to a black card in the 51st minute and they had to wait until the 55th minute for their first point of the half, Shane Carey pointing. Conor McManus pointed a free seconds later to cut the lead to one, but almost immediately Patrick McBrearty stretched it two once again.
When Michael Murphy pointed a free on 66 minutes to put Donegal 1-11 to 0-11 in front, it seemed Donegal were on their way, as Monaghan didn’t seem to have much of a threat. Kieran Gillespie had come in at half-time for Neil McGee and kept Jack McCarron scoreless.
Donegal had lost Ryan McHugh to an ankle injury with ten minutes of normal time left.
But then came a late Monaghan surge and a ball was played across the goal and Martin McElhinney pushed Darren Hughes. Referee David Gough pointed to the spot and black carded McElhinney.
It was a disappointing end for Donegal, who still had two chances in added time to get the victory. Patrick McBrearty swung one wide while Michael Murphy went for a point from a 65m free, but it tailed off to the right in the wind.
Scorers - Donegal: Michael Murphy 0-7,4f; Michael Carroll 1-0; Patrick McBrearty 0-2; Eoin McHugh, Ciaran Thompson 0-1 each.
Monaghan: Jack McCarron 0-6,4f; Conor McManus 1-1, 1-0pen,f; Kieran Hughes, Owen Duffy, Shane Carey, Michael Bannigan 0-1 each.
DONEGAL: Mark Anthony McGinley; Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Eamonn Doherty; Ryan McHugh, Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Paul Brennan; Michael Murphy (0-7,4f), Ciaran Thompson (0-1); Michael Carroll (1-0), Martin O’Reilly, Eoin McHugh (0-1); Jamie Brennan, Hugh McFadden, Cian Mulligan.
Subs., Mark McHugh for P Brennan 33; Kieran Gillespie for McGee ht; Patrick McBrearty (0-2) for J Brennan 43; Karl Lacey for Mannion 50; Martin McElhinney for R McHugh 60; Michael Langan for Thompson 63
MONAGHAN: Rory Beggan; Fintan Kelly, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie; Ryan McAnespie, Neil McAdam, Karl O’Connell; Darren Hughes, Kieran Hughes (0-1); Dessie Ward, Owen Duffy (0-1), Gavin Doogan; Michael Bannigan (0-1), Jack McCarron (0-6,4f), Conor McManus (1-1, pen, f).
Subs., Shane Carey (0-1) for McAnespie 8; Conor McCarthy for Ward, bcard 40; Dermot Malone for Bannigan ht; Vinny Corey for McAdam 46; James Mealiff for O Duffy, bcard 53; Thomas Kerr for Doogan 68
REFEREE: David Gough (Meath)