Yvonne McMonagle on the ball for Donegal against Mayo
Donegal are sitting proudly on top of the Lidl Ladies League Division One table following this afternoon’s win over Mayo in Convoy.
Yvonne McMonagle, Karen Guthrie and Geraldine McLaughlin scored the goals for Donegal, who are now looking forward to a first ever Division One League semi-final.
They play Galway in two weeks time on Saturday week. Cork and Dublin will meet in the other semi-final.
This was a big win for Donegal coming on the back of last Sunday’s victory over Cork, away in Cork.
The game began at a lively pace. Yvonne McMonagle opened the scoring with a point on 13 seconds and less than two minutes later Cora Staunton had the ball in the Donegal net for a Mayo goal.
The ten time All-Star showed her class when she strode through from 45 metres to nonchalantly placed the ball in the top right corner of Aoife McColgan net.
But Donegal recovered and Geraldine McLaughlin and Niamh Hegarty knocked over points for a 0-6 to 1-0 lead with a little over four minutes on the clock.
Staunton tied up the game with two pointed frees before McMonagle struck for the first of her goals.
For the first goal on 17 minutes McMonagle got on the end of a sweeping move involving Geraldine Friel and Roisin Friel.
It opened up a three point lead once more, 1-6 to 1-3 after Staunton had converted two Mayo close-in frees.
Donegal, despite having a strong wind in their backs, were struggling to shake off the Mayo women who came to Convoy still in with a chance of making the last four.
And the visitors, thanks to Staunton and Grace Kelly in the middle of the field, would be happy to be just two points adrift going into the closing minutes of the opening half.
But Donegal finished the half with a flurry and hit 1-3 without reply to take a seven point cushion, 2-10 to 1-6, to the dressing room.
McMonagle scored a peach of a goal when she curled the ball around Yvonne Byrne in the Mayo goals from just outside the large rectangle.
Donegal picked up where they left off on the resumption and hit a goal and three points in the opening eight minutes of the second period.
McMonagle was again involved; this time she tapped a long delivery into the path of Karen Guthrie, who made no mistake from five metres.
Donegal were now 3-13 to 1-6 in front and coasting. Sara Rowe and Cora Staunton (2) just about kept Mayo’s hopes alive.
But the Westerners’ fate was sealed once and for all five minutes from the end when McLaughlin converted from the penalty spot, after McMonagle was fouled by the ‘keeper.
Leading 4-13 to 1-9 with the clock ticking, Donegal allowed Mayo in for a number of consolation points.
And in the closing seconds, Staunton converted a late penalty to add a measure of respectability to the final score.
DONEGAL: Aoife McColgan; Teresa Doherty, Emer Gallagher, Nicole McLaughlin; Therese McCafferty, Ciara Hegarty, Deirdre Foley; Eilish Ward, Karen Guthrie(1-1); Yvonne McMonagle (2-2), Niamh Hegarty (0-2), Shannon McGroddy; Roisin Friel (0-1), Geraldine McLaughlin (1-7,3f), Grainne Houston. Subs: Katy Herron for R Friel 52; Kate Keaney for D Foley 56; Kelly Wilson for T Doherty, Kaneisha McKinney for T McCafferty both on 58.
MAYO: Yvonne Byrne; Sharon McGing, Sarah Tierney, Marie Corbett; Orla Conlon, Martha Carter, Rachael McKenna; Grace Kelly (0-1), Doireann Hughes; Michelle McGing, Cora Staunton (2-6,4f, 1-0 pen), Emma Needham; Aileen Gilroy (0-1), Sarah Rowe (0-2), Shauna Howley (0-1).
REFEREE: Brendan Rice (Down)