Saturday 29 April 2017

McGee sends Donegal into final despite Farney rally

Neil McGee blasted a shot high into the roof of the net after a quick exchange of passes. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Neil McGee blasted a shot high into the roof of the net after a quick exchange of passes. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Donegal are through to the provincial final after a high-scoring joust with Monaghan on Saturday.

Donegal 3-15 Monaghan 2-12

Donegal started and finished strongly to advance to their second decider in three years.

Owen Duffy of Monaghan in action against Eamonn McGee of Donegal. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Owen Duffy of Monaghan in action against Eamonn McGee of Donegal. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Donegal had a fine first half and were good value for a 2-7 to 0-5 lead at the break with Jason McGee and Eoghan McGettigan scoring goals early and late in the first period.

That lead was almost wiped out by Monaghan, who roared from the half-time blocks, hitting 1-3, including a deadly goal by Robbie McAlister, who capitalised on some poor defending.

Donegal steadied themselves as Odhrán McFadden-Ferry netted, only for Monaghan to issue an instant response.

Conor Leonard tapped in a second goal for the Farney after Michael Branigan cracked a crisp shot off the post and Donegal were still wobbling.

Michael Murphy of Donegal is tackled by Vinny Corey of Monaghan. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Michael Murphy of Donegal is tackled by Vinny Corey of Monaghan. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Survived

McGee and Niall O'Donnell kept them in front and they survived the loss of Peadar Mogan to a black card.

But they finished well and scored five points in the last 10 minutes to win it.

The jitters experienced by Donegal early in the second half were in stark contrast to the first half when they were highly impressive, bagging the game's opening goal in the eighth minute.

McGee blasted a shot high into the roof of the net after a quick exchange of passes, the midfielder giving goalkeeper Jack Kirk no chance.

Conor McManus of Monaghan in action against Paddy McGrath of Donegal. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Conor McManus of Monaghan in action against Paddy McGrath of Donegal. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Three minutes before half-time, Donegal got their second major. After Kieran Gallagher was fouled, McGettigan stepped up and, after Kirk saved his penalty, tucked home the rebound.

Wilson, Ryan O'Connor and Garland scored three points in as many minutes on the resumption and it was the cue for a big fightback from the Farney, but Donegal held on.

Ulster mfc semi-final

Scorers - Donegal: J McGee, E McGettigan 1-2 each, N O'Donnell 0-4 (3fs), O McFadden-Ferry 1-0, A McLaughlin 0-2, O Shiels, JD Boyle, S McGrath, G Molloy 0-1 each. Monaghan: R McAlister 1-2, D Garland 0-4, J Wilson 0-3, C Leonard 1-0, M Brannigan 0-2, R O'Connor 0-1.

Donegal - G Mulreany; S Ferry, A McCrea, M Curran; O Shiels, JD Boyle, A McLaughlin; J McGee, K Gallagher; N Boyle, N O'Donnell, O McFadden-Ferry; P Mogan, E McGettigan, S McGrath. Subs: B O'Donnell for Mogan (39), G Molloy for Boyle (52), S Carr for McFadden-Ferry (60), R Connors for Gallagher (60).

Monaghan - J Kirk; J Walsh, C Lennon, F Beggan; P McMahon, R Mohan, F Hanratty; C Leonard, P Finnan; R O'Connor, J Wilson, R McAlister; D Garland, M Bannigan, F Connolly. Subs: K McMenamin for Beggan (h-t), A Courtney for McAlister (50), D Hughes for Wilson (60).

Ref - P Faloon (Down).

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