Geraldine McLaughlin and Kate Keaney lift the Cup
Donegal are Ulster Ladies Senior Champions once again following a convincing eight point victory over champions, Monaghan, in St Tiernach’s Park, Clones.
Donegal . . . . . 4-11
Monaghan . . . . . 0-15
This was a big win for Donegal over the champions who were chasing a tenth Ulster title and were very much the favourites for this clash.
Donegal led by five points at half-time thanks to goals from Roisin Friel, Yvonne McMonagle and Geraldine McLaughlin.
McLaughlin and Karen Guthrie converted two frees each while Niamh Hegarty also got her name on the score sheet with Donegal’s first point.
But the goals were the big scores of the half with Roisin Friel hitting the first on four minutes.
The teams were level 0-1 each after Eileen McKenna scored one of the quickest points ever scored in St Tiernach’s Park.
McKenna, a late replacement for Lauren Jones, split the posts after just seven seconds.
Niamh Hegarty pointed for Donegal on three minutes from a quickly taken ‘45’ after Yvonne McMonagle had been denied by a point blank save by veteran Monagan ‘keeper Linda Martin.
The goal did arrive one minute later when McMonagle with a great cross and Karen Guthrie with a good fetch and quick hands found Friel on the edge of the square.
And the Termon lass hit first time and the ball took a deflection on its way to the Monaghan net and a 1-1 to 0-1 lead.
With play swinging from end to end Rosemary Courtney and Geraldine McLaughlin traded points before McMonagle struck for goal number two.
That was on 14 minutes at the end of a super Donegal move that saw Katy Herron win possession in the middle of the field before finding Niamh Hegarty in the left corner of the attack.
Hegarty crossed and McMonagle won the race with the defender to flick to the net.
Ellen McCarron, Caoimhe Mohan and Eileen McKenna kept the scoreboard ticking for Monaghan and the margin was down to three points.
Caoimhe Mohan pointed for Monaghan as the Farney ladies cut the led to two, with two minutes left in the half.
But Donegal found the golden touch again when Geraldine McLaughlin polished off another good move with a lethal finish.
Katy Herron, with a delightfully struck ‘45’, found Yvonne McMonagle who in turn squared to the captain who did the rest with a polished finish and 3-4 to 0-8 lead.
Ellen McCarron and Karen Guthrie converted late frees before Donegal went in 3-5 to 0-9 up at half-time.
Donegal, with the wind in their backs, got the second half off to a dream start when McLaughlin struck for goal number four after a goalmouth scramble.
Most players would have gone for the point but not the Donegal skipper who drilled low and hard past a number of Monaghan defenders.
Donegal were now up by seven, 4-5 to 0-10, Cora Courtney had scored the first point of the new half.
The goal seemed to really rock Monaghan and despite losing Niamh Hegarty to the sinbin Donegal hit three points to Monaghan’s one to stretch their lead out to nine points by the end of the third quarter, 4-8 to 0-11.
And the margin, thanks to McMonagle, McLaughlin and Grainne Houston, was out 4-10 to 0-12 by the 50 minute mark.
Monaghan did outscore Donegal by three points to one in the closing minutes but with no goals conceded Donegal were on their way to a famous victory.
DONEGAL: Aoife McColgan; Treasa Doherty, Emer Gallagher, Nicole McLaughlin; Therese McCafferty,
Ciara Hegarty, Aoife McDonnell; Katy Herron, Karen Guthrie (0-2,2f); Grainne Houston (0-1), Niamh Hegarty (0-1), Eilish Ward; Roisin Friel (1-0), Geraldine McLaughlin (2-6,4f), Yvonne McMonagle (1-1). Subs: Paula McGrory for R Friel 41; Deirdre Foley for A McDonnell 56;
MONAGHAN: Linda Martin; Rachel McKenna, Josie Fitzpatrick, Shaun Coyle; Aoife McAnespie, Sharon Courtney, Grainne McNally; Cora Courtney (0-1), Eimear McAnespie; Laura McEnaney, Ellen McCarron (0-8,4f), Eileen McKenna (0-2); Ciara McAnespie (0-2), Caoimhe Mohan (0-1), Rosemary Courtney (0-1). Sub: Rebecca McKenna for S Coyle, 42;
REFEREE: Conor Dourneen (Cavan)