Action from Sunday's game at O'Donnell Park. Photo: Geraldine Diver.
Donegal’s reputation for being a second half team proved so true again against Monaghan in O’Donnell Park on Sunday afternoon.
Donegal . . . 1-21
Monaghan . . . 2-13
Ardal McDermott’s side were four down at half-time but once again produced a storming second half performance.
In the second 35 they outplayed Monaghan and hit 1-12 to Monaghan’s six points to run out five point winners. They led by eight points at one stage in the second period.
Ronan McDermott, who is commuting from London where he is currently based, hit the goal that sparked the Donegal revival.
That was on four minutes into the new half and came seconds after Monaghan had an appeal for a penalty turned down.
McDermott first-timed to the Monaghan net from a good ball in from Kevin Campbell.
The goal reduced the margin to the minimum, 2-7 to 1-9, and seconds later Donegal were on level terms when Declan Coulter floated over.
Donegal tails were now up and with the stiff breeze at their backs, they hit three points without reply to open up a three-point lead.
Coulter, who hit five points, had another fine game in the his adopted green and gold. Henderson with two frees posted the Donegal points.
Donal Meegan, who scored all of Monaghan’s six second half points, momentarily reduced the margin to two.
But the momentum was with Donegal and they hit six on the bounce with Henderson, Coulter, Flynn, Jack O’Loughlin and Stephen Gillespie all finding the target for a 1-19 to 2-8 lead with a little over ten minutes remaining.
The game fizzled out in the closing minutes with Flynn and Coulter scoring for Donegal and Meegan responding for Monaghan.
Monaghan were the better and hungrier side and deservedly led by four points at half-time, 2-7 to 0-9.
Meegan and Sean Leonard scored the goals while Meegan also chipped in with three pointed frees.
Monaghan, who played with the wind in the opening half, had five different scorers with midfielder Eanna MacSuibhne landing two long range frees while Brian McGuigan and Tadhg Campbell also raised white flags.
Donegal were off the pace in the opening period.
And they were clinging on at the interval courtesy of points from Flynn, Henderson, Joe Boyle and Coulter.
But it was a different story in the second half.
The win moves Donegal onto six points and are second behind Monaghan in the league table with two games to play.
Donegal are away to Tyrone and Louth while Monaghan will face Tyrone at home.
DONEGAL: Paul Burns; Dara Grant, Jamesie Donnelly, Padraig Doherty; Joe Boyle (0-1), Jack O’Loughlin (0-1), Ritchie Kee; Danny Cullen, Lee Henderson (0-8,7f); Davin Flynn (0-5), Kevin Campbell, Declan Coulter (0-5); Bernard Lafferty, Ronan McDermott (1-0), Enda McDermott. Subs; Stephen Gillespie (0-1) for E McDermott 53; Niall Cleary for B Lafferty 65;
MONAGHAN: Pádraig Bermingham; Luke McKenna, Patrick Finnegan, Brian Flanagan; Jamie Guinan, Peter Treanor, Martin Murphy; Eanna MacSuibhne (0-2, 2f), Colm Meegan; Fergal Rafter, Tadhg Campbell (0-1), Conor Boyle; Donal Meegan(1-9, 6f), Sean Leonard (1-0), Brian McGuigan (0-1). Subs: Niall Garland for Luke McKenna 17; Bernard Connor for J Guinan 55; Eoin Leonard for C Boyle 63; P J Boyle for S Leonard 64.
REFEREE: Shane Hynes (Galway).