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Donegal Dig Deep to Salvage a Draw

Donegal Vs Monaghan


MacCumhaill Park

Despite four well taken goals Monaghan only managed to get a draw against a dogged Donegal effort in a high-scoring encounter in Ballybofey this afternoon.

Due to the short league format this year victories are vital as both league semi-finals and relegation play-offs will soon be upon us. A win for Donegal would move them a step closer to a league semi-final. On the other hand, for Monaghan they needed the two points to help them avoid a relegation battle.

Last week, Monaghan conceded 1-3 to Armagh in the first 5 minutes of the contest, however, they didn’t make the same mistake this week as they got out of the traps quickly. They led 0-04 to 2-04 after the first water-break. Conor McCarthy netted both of the two early goals. The first came after the forward danced his way through the opposition defence selling a few dummies before putting the ball in the goal. The second goal started from a powerful Karl O’Connell run before he passed to McCarthy who got his second goal of the afternoon.

Declan Bonner and his coaching team wouldn’t have been pleased with the amount of space their men were giving to the visitors. The Monaghan forwards looked very dangerous on the break. It wasn’t long after the first break in play when the Farney struck their third goal of the fixture, it was scored by hat-trick hero McCarthy. They could have had more if it wasn’t for a good save from Shaun Patton and a Stephen O’Hanlon shot that just went wide.

To Donegal’s credit they didn’t lie down, despite trailing by 9 points at one stage in the contest. An Oisin Gallen point was followed by a superbly taken goal from Michael Langan who’s shot was like a rocket heading towards the goal, Paddy McBrearty got a score to cut the deficit to just four points. A few more scores were scored by both sides before the half-time whistle. Monaghan would have to play the rest of the game with 14 men as full-back Conor Boyle was forced to sit out the rest of the game following a second black card. Monaghan led 1-08 to 3-07 at the half-time interval.

The home side started to get back into the contest reducing the Monaghan lead to just three points early in the second-half. However, talisman Conor McManus scored his teams fourth goal of the game after coming off the bench. The lead was stretched to six points.

McManus scored 1-02 in the second half. Donegal finished the game strong with a very good last quarter. Paddy McBrearty was the hero in the closing exchanges as he got much of the late scores including a late point that secured a share of the spoils for his team, they escaped with a draw despite conceding four goals to an entertaining Monaghan outfit.

Monaghan will need to produce a similar if not better performance to beat Tyrone next week in Healy Park in what is a must win fixture for both counties. For Donegal they sit top of the table. they travel to an ever-improving Armagh side next Saturday.

DONEGAL: Shaun Patton; Eoghan Bán Gallagher, Neil McGee, Brendan McCole; Paul Brennan, Ryan McHugh, Peadar Mogan (0-01); Hugh McFadden, Caolan McGonagle (0-01); Ciaran Thompson (0-02), Niall O'Donnell (0-02), Michael Langan (1-01); Patrick McBrearty (0-08 (3f, 1 fm)), Michael Murphy, Oisin Gallen (0-03).

Subs: Dáire Ó Baoill for Murphy 4; Eoin McHugh (0-01) for P Brennan ht; Odhrán McFadden for H McFadden 45; Stephen McMenamin for N McGee 53; Paddy McGrath for E Ban Gallagher 60 (0-01); Jason McGee for McCole 61

MONAGHAN: Rory Beggan; Kieran Duffy, Conor Boyle, Ryan Wylie; Karl O'Connell (0-01), Karl McMenamin, Ryan McAnespie (0-01); Darren Hughes, Killian Lavelle; Stephen O'Hanlon, Aaron Mulligan (0-03 (2f)), Micheal Bannigan (0-02 (1f)); Conor McCarthy (3-01), Andrew Woods (0-01), Sean Jones.

Subs: Conor McManus (1-02 (2f)) for Jones ht; Shane Hanratty for Bannigan 42; Niall Kearns for Woods 52; Jack McCarron for O'Hanlon; Colin Lennon for O'Connell both 57; Gary Mohan for Mulligan 70+4

REFEREE: Barry Cassidy (Derry)

By Ciaron Noble

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