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Henderson impact lifts Donegal

LEE Henderson was the supersub as the Ballybofey man smashed 2-3 past Monaghan to send Donegal to Croke Park.

Henderson, back in action after two months out with a medial ligament injury, made an instant impact, catching 'keeper Gerard Ruddy out by sending two long-range frees straight to the Farney net.

Two first-half strikes from Brian McGuigan had given Monaghan the edge, but Stephen Boyle's goal in the 32nd minute had Donegal behind by just a goal at the interval.

Henderson was sent on for the second half and Tir Chonaill quickly took command as they hit 2-4 in the first eight minutes.

They led for the first time when Henderson's free skidded to the net. Sixty seconds later Ciaran Matthewson slammed to the net and by the 43rd minute Donegal were 3-9 to 2-6 in front.

Henderson caught Ruddy out a second time and then Danny Cullen prodded home a fifth to confirm the return of Donegal hurlers to GAA headquarters.

Scorers – Donegal: L Henderson 2-3 (2-1fs, 1 '65), C Matthewson 1-4 (0-2fs), D Cullen 1-2, S Boyle 1-0, E McDermott, S McVeigh, P Hannigan 0-1 each. Monaghan: M McHugh 0-8 (7fs, 1 '65), B McGuigan 2-0, M Treanor 0-1.

Donegal – P Burns; M McGrath, J McGhee, B Harrigan; C McDermott J Donnelly, J Boyle; J Browne, D Cullen; S McVeigh, E McDermott, S Boyle; R McDermott, P Hannigan, C Matthewson. Subs: L Henderson for Browne (h-t), K Campbell for Cullen (67)

Monaghan – G Ruddy; S McNally, P Dowdally, D Crowe; M Murphy, P Treanor, S Loftus; K Crawley, T Hillard; B McGuigan, M Treanor, F Rafter; M McHugh, S Leanord, T Campbell. Subs: C McKenna for Rafter (48), R McAteer for Ruddy (58), H Byrne for Campbell (67), P Finnegan for Dowdally (69).

Ref – B Sweeney (Cavan)

Irish Independent