McMonagle and McLaughlin fire Donegal to semi-final date with Galway
The semi-final line-up in Division 1 of the Lidl Ladies National Football League was finalised yesterday, as Monaghan relegated Ulster rivals Armagh to the second tier.
Monaghan repeated last weekend's victory over the same opposition to stay in the top flight for a 26th successive year, as Donegal finished on top of Division 1 after seeing off Mayo.
Donegal had lethal forwards Yvonne McMonagle and Geraldine McLaughlin in brilliant form again as they beat Mayo 4-13 to 2-11 in Convoy.
Donegal's win means they will play Galway in the semi-finals in a fortnight's time, with holders Cork meeting Dublin in a repeat of last year's semi-final.
Cora Staunton scored two goals for Mayo, including an early effort, but Donegal recovered to take a firm grip of proceedings.
McMonagle netted in the 20th minute to hand Donegal a 1-7 to 1-5 lead and bagged another brilliant goal approaching half-time. Ahead at the break by 2-10 to 1-5, Donegal kicked on in the second half and added two more goals.
Karen Guthrie's 37th-minute effort opened up a 3-12 to 1-6 lead before McLaughlin converted a penalty goal with five minutes left.
Donegal were reduced to 14 late on when Niamh Hegarty was sin-binned, before Staunton scored a late consolation goal from a penalty for Mayo, who needed a big win to secure a top-four finish.
Donegal's win caps a remarkable group campaign for Michael Naughton's charges, who claimed five victories from seven outings. They claimed top spot ahead of Cork (both teams on 15 points), having beaten the Rebelettes in the group stages.
Dublin finish third ahead of Galway (both teams on 12 points), following victory over the Tribeswomen in Tuam in their final group outing last weekend.
Meanwhile, Monaghan came out on top against Armagh by 3-11 to 2-11 in a superb encounter at the Athletic Grounds.
Cathriona McConnell netted her second goal with less than four minutes to play, finally sealing victory for Monaghan, who had trailed by 2-4 to 1-6 at half-time.
In front of a big crowd, Armagh had much the better of the opening period, cutting through the Monaghan rearguard.
Goals from Blaithin Mackin and her sister Aimee looked to have secured a comfortable interval lead, as Caroline O'Hanlon delivered a midfield masterclass. But Monaghan kicked on for the win.