Monaghan hold on to dethrone Donegal in Ulster

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By John Fogarty
Monaghan 0-11 Donegal 0-10
Donegal’s 11th second half wide was the penultimate kick of the game as they were made to pay for their erratic shooting by an economical Monaghan.

In front of a 31,997 crowd in Clones, Conor McManus and Monaghan’s defensive unit excelled as Malachy O’Rourke’s side claimed their second Anglo-Celt Cup in three years against the favourites.

Leading 0-8 to 0-4 at half-time, Monaghan managed just three points in the second half and managed nothing in the last 23 minutes, but it was enough as Donegal were out on their feet and out of ideas before the end.

Donegal trailed by five in the 50th minute, however clawed into the deficit mainly via frees and Paddy McBrearty had an attempt at a last gasp equaliser. However, the ball tailed narrowly wide.

Towards the end of the first half, it looked as if it were all 2013 all over again as Monaghan shot long and true. The Duffys, Owen and Kieran, both scored from distance as did Dessie Mone with a majestic kick in the 35th minute and there was still time for McManus to convert after a slick one-two movement with Fintan Kelly.

Monaghan had been slower out of the blocks and trailed by 0-3 to 0-1 after five minutes as they delayed in settling. Karl Lacey and McBrearty were given too much licence to find their range and Paddy McBrearty was excellent in turning for the opener.

McGlynn’s score, though, turned out to be Donegal’s last point for a yawning 28 minutes as Monaghan imposed themselves on the game, exploiting Donegal’s right wing and Christy Toye was the fall guy, replaced before the end of the half. The last straw came when Toye, who had been so good in the run-up to the final, was hounded for a ball which ended up over Paul Durcan’s head from McManus’ boot.

McManus, like Michael Murphy, had been quiet in the opening stages but was a force by the end of it.

Apart from putting in a shuddering shoulder on McManus, Murphy had to make do with a free in the first half.

Scorers for Monaghan: C McManus (0-6, 3 frees); K O’Connell, O Duffy, K Duffy, D Mone, O Lennon (0-1 each).

Scorers for Donegal: P McBrearty (0-6, 4 frees); M Murphy (0-2, frees); K Lacey, F McGlynn (0-1 each).

Subs for Monaghan: R McAnespie for O Duffy (46); D Clerkin for O Lennon (70).

Subs for Donegal: M Reilly for C Toye (33); A Thompson for K Lacey (inj 40); D O’Connor for C McFadden (53); S Gollogly for D Malone (54); L McLoone for O Mac Niallais (70).

MONAGHAN: R Beggan; V Corey, C Walshe, D Mone; R Wylie, N McAdam, K O’Connell; F Kelly, O Lennon; D Hughes, D Malone, K Duffy; C McManus, K Hughes, O Duffy.

DONEGAL: P Durcan; P McGrath, É McGee, N McGee; K Lacey, F McGlynn, R McHugh; N Gallagher, O Mac Niallais; C Toye, M McElhinney, M McHugh; C McFadden, P McBrearty, M Murphy.

Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).