Monday 19 March 2018

McLaughlin helps Donegal secure historic title

An excellent performance from Geraldine McLaughlin saw her score 2-7
An excellent performance from Geraldine McLaughlin saw her score 2-7 Newdesk

Donegal made history by claiming the county's first TG4 Ulster ladies senior football championship crown.

Ace forward Geraldine McLaughlin ran riot against Monaghan, scoring 2-7 as Donegal claimed a 2-12 to 1-10 victory in Clones.

At half-time, Donegal were 0-7 to 0-4 clear before McLaughlin netted the first of her two goals.

Catriona McConnell responded with a penalty goal for hosts Monaghan but McLaughlin struck again to put Donegal firmly in the driving seat. The newly-crowned Ulster champions advance to the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland series but Monaghan now face a tricky back door clash with Cavan.

It was one of those days for Monaghan, who lost Laura McEnaney to the sin-bin in the first half. Donegal, meanwhile, will play the winners of the Armagh-Westmeath qualifier game in the last eight.

They'll savour provincial glory first and for Donegal, the last three years have represented a quite incredible turnaround. In August 2012, Cork inflicted an 8-27 to 0-2 qualifier defeat on Donegal but with some key players back this year, they have made progress.

Elsewhere, there were victories for Cavan and Armagh in Saturday's qualifiers.

Cavan ran riot against Down in Clones, winning by 10-25 to 0-3.

A devastating replay from the Breffni County saw them amass a 5-14 to 0-1 lead by half-time.

Aisling Doonan was outstanding in the Cavan full-forward line, scoring 3-10, while Roisín O'Keeffe was excellent too, scoring eight points from right half-forward.

Doonan's hat-trick goal, a penalty before half-time, left the score at 4-14 to 0-1 in a one-sided rout.

Armagh, meanwhile, got back to winning ways following their Ulster semi-final defeat to Monaghan.

The Orchard County, who reached last year's All-Ireland semi-finals, beat Laois by 3-22 to 3-7.

Armagh had six different players scoring more than once, with Aimee Mackin and powerful midfielder Caroline O'Hanlon each notching 1-4 while Kelly Mallon and Lauren McConville both got five points.

While it took them a while to get away from the challenge of Laois, Aoife McCoy's 23rd-minute goal put them 1-9 to 0-2 in front and by half-time it was 1-12 to 0-4.

Goals in the second period from Mackin and O'Hanlon put the outcome beyond doubt, though Laois did keep battling and were rewarded through goals by Noirín Kirwan, Ellen Healy and Laura-Marie Maher.

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