Saturday 18 November 2017

Sensational McMonagle clinches Donegal double Newsdesk Newsdesk

Lethal full-forward Yvonne McMonagle bagged 2-5 from play as Donegal claimed the intermediate title at Croke Park yesterday.

The northerners captured the Mary Quinn Memorial Cup with a hard-fought two-point victory over Munster champions Waterford, who were appearing in their first All-Ireland final since the senior decider in 2000.

Ulster champions Donegal will make the step up to the senior championship in 2011 and what a season it has been for Michael Naughton's team, who added the All-Ireland crown to the Bord Gáis Energy National League Division 2 title.

Donegal repelled a spirited fightback from Waterford and came again with a strong surge midway through the second half to clinch the silverware.

Donegal led by two points at half-time, 1-7 to 0-8, and stretched that advantage to five within two minutes of the restart when McMonagle rattled home the second of her two brilliant goals.

McMonagle's first, in the 22nd minute of the first half, was finished magnificently with her left foot and she cracked home her second with her right boot.

The Glenfin star's ability to kick off both feet makes her so difficult to mark and this was an attacking display right out of the top drawer as all five of her points from play were textbook efforts.

One first-half point from tight on the endline was worth the admission fee alone and McMonagle went on to torment the Waterford defence in a roving commission.

Donegal had a host of first-half goal chances: Eilish Ward was denied by Waterford goalkeeper Aimée Jordan in the 14th minute and Niamh Hegarty shot wide soon after, before McMonagle finally broke through the Déise resistance, after Hegarty had hit the post seconds earlier.

The star turn all through this game was McMonagle, who bombed through for a sensational second goal early in the second half.

Despite going five points down, Waterford refused to wilt, and a run of five unanswered scores -- with top-scorer Michelle Ryan on song from frees -- hauled the sides level at 0-13 to 2-7 by the 44th minute.

Donegal had been waiting 13 minutes for a score when Geraldine McLaughlin popped over a 45th-minute point from play before McMonagle -- one with her left and then with her right -- slotted over two points from play.

Three points ahead, and having weathered the Waterford storm, Donegal had breathing space again.

While Jason Lynch's team twice got back to within a single point, the Ulster side held on to seal a memorable double.

Scorers -- Donegal: Y McMonagle 2-5, G McLaughlin 0-5 (0-3f), A McDonnell, G Houston 0-1 each. Waterford: M Ryan 0-8f, L Wall, S Ryan 0-2 each; G Enright, M McGrath, E Power & A Wall 0-1 each.

DONEGAL -- R McClafferty; D Toner, D Foley, K Wilson; C Hegarty, M Herron, T McCafferty; A McDonnell, K Guthrie; G Houston, N Hegarty, K Feeney; E Ward, Y McMonagle, G McLaughlin. Subs: N Stapleton for Foley (40), K Keeney for Houston (49), R Friel for Feeney (52).

WATERFORD -- A Jordan; N Dunphy G Enright, L Hogan; L Ryan, M Foley, M Wall; M McGrath, E Power; G Kenneally, M Ryan, L Wall; M Delahunty, S Ryan, A Wall. Subs: N Briggs for Delahunty (39), A Dunphy for M Wall (44).

Ref -- D McEnery (Westmeath).

Irish Independent

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