Geraldine McLaughlin gets her pass away during Sunday's Division One meeting with Monaghan in Termon. Photo: Geraldine Diver.
Donegal will play in Division One of the Lidl Ladies National Football League again next season after they recorded a one point win over Monaghan at the Burn Road in Termon.
Donegal . . . 3-12
Monaghan . . . 1-17
Yvonne McMonagle, Karen Gutrhie and Eilish Ward scored the goals as Donegal recovered from a slow start to take the points from a high quality encounter in brilliant sunshine.
McMonagle, having her first game in the league since returning from Australia, hit the first goal on 15 minutes.
And boy was that goal needed as Donegal trailed by six points at the time after Monaghan got off to a lightning start and had a goal and three points on the board inside the opening four minutes.
Eimear McAnespie had the ball in the Donegal net inside 30 seconds after the Donegal defence was caught cold. And with Ciara McAnespie causing all kinds of problems, the Monaghan ladies reeled off three quick points.
Donegal, who had not played a game in four weeks, were all at sea in those early minutes and they had to wait until the ninth minute for Geraldine McLaughlin to open their account with a pointed free.
But Monaghan continued to dictate. Ellen McCarron converted twice from placed balls before McLaughlin hit Donegal’s second, again from a close in free, and it was 1-5 to 0-2.
Donegal matched Monaghan score for score from then to the end of the half as McLaughlin, Guthrie, McMonagle and Shannon McGroddy all found the target.
Ellen McCarron added two quick points on the resumption to open up a four point margin as Monaghan went 1-11 to 1-7 in front.
But Donegal were back in the game when Guthrie cut in from the right wing to blast to the Monaghan net for goal number two and the margin was back to one.
Katy Herron, who had big game in the middle of the field, and Ciara McAnespie traded points before Eilish Ward converted from the penalty spot after Niamh Hegarty was fouled.
That was on 46 minutes and propelled Donegal into a 3-9 to 1-13 lead.
Donegal added three more points in the closing minutes with McLaughlin (2) and McMonagle finding the range to open up a three point advantage, with the clock ticking.
Monaghan, who are facing the drop to Division Two with just one win from six games, pressed to the end with Ellen McCarron, hitting two injury time points.
But in the end Donegal held on and with two games remaining - Cork away and Mayo at home - are now chasing a place in the league semi-final.
DONEGAL: Aoife McColgan; Treasa Doherty, Ciara Hegarty, Kate Keaney; Therese McCafferty, Nicole McLaughlin, Emer Gallagher; Katy Herron (0-1), Karen Guthrie (1-1,1f); Yvonne McMonagle (1-3), Niamh Hegarty, Shannon McGroddy (0-1); Roisin Friel, Geraldine McLaughlin (O-6, 4f), Paula McGrory.
Subs: Eilish Ward (1-0, penalty) for P McGrory, h/t; Grainne Houston for R Friel 50; Aoife McDonnell for T Doherty 59.
MONAGHAN: Catriona McKenna; Rachael McKenna, Josephine Fitzpatrick, Shauna Coyle (0-1); Aoife McAnespie (0-1), Sharon Courtney, Grainne McNally; Cora Courtney (0-1,1f), Eimear McAnespie (1-0); Laura McEnaney, Ellen McCarron (0-9,2,f), Eileen McKenna; Ciara McAnespie (0-4), Caoimhe Mohan (0-1), Rosemary Courtney.
Subs: Muireann Atkinson for E McKenna 55; Rebecca McKenna for R McKenna 50; Laura Jones for C Mohan, 56.
REFEREE: John Niland (Sligo).