Monaghan 1-12, Donegal 1-10.
A resilient and fiercely resurgent Monaghan staged a magnificent rearguard action to come from being 4 points in arrears 7 minutes into the 2nd half, to booking their place in the next round of the Ulster minor football championship at the expense of Donegal in this riveting contest that was played in McCumhaill Park, Ballybofey on Sunday afternoon last. Monaghan had defeated Donegal in the Ulster minor league final some weeks back and Donegal looked on course to exact sweet revenge for that reverse but they had reckoned without the character in this Monaghan side as they dug deep to fashion a winning finish, hitting 6 unanswered points between the 8th and 34th minutes of the second-half to clinch a spectacular victory. Monaghan started the game with a flourish and had 1-2 on the scoreboard in the opening 4 minutes as they looked to be picking up where they had left off in the league final but 10 minutes later they found themselves in arrears, having conceded 1-3, 2 of the points from frees and the goal from a penalty, to bring Donegal right back into the game. Donegal went on to lead at half-time by 1-7 to 1-4 with Monaghan contributing to their own fate through a series of missed chances, passes being intercepted, and players taking the wrong option while Donegal grew in stature. Things continued in like fashion in the early stages of the second-half with Donegal registering 3 points as opposed to 2 by Monaghan to lead by 4 after 7 minutes and Monaghan looking to be in a spot of bother, but from there to the finish they came under increasing pressure as Monaghan defended stoutly, broke quickly and used the ball better to create vital scoring chances or win frees that were clinically converted by Sean Jones. They were fortunate too though that they possibly did not concede another goal on a couple of occasions but the Monaghan defence merits great praise particularly Ronan Grimes, who often single-handedly turned Donegal over on numerous occasions and he got good support from Jack Doogan, Christopher Flood, and Jordan McGarrell. Trailing by 1-10 to 1-6 approaching the 10 minute mark in the second-half, Monaghan then reduced the margin to 3 almost immediately, but then did not score for all of 16 minutes before registering 3 points in as many minutes to tie the game up and extra time looking a distinct possibility. Monaghan though were not to be outdone and they capped their resurgent second-half with 2 match-winning points in stoppage time to clinch a memorable victory and stay in the championship.
Teams and Scorers: Monaghan: Ryan Farrelly, Ronan Grimes, Jack Doogan, Shane Hanratty, Christopher Flood, Breandan Og O’Dufaigh, Jordan McGarrell, Andrew Moore, Joel Wilson, Michael Meehan 0-1, Sean Jones 0-6 (6f), Karl Gallagher 0-1, Donnach Swinburne, Loughlinn Power 1-0, Jason Irwin 0-3. Subs: Oisin O’Hanlon for J Wilson (HT), Darragh Dempsey for L Power (46), Robbie Hanratty for Karl Gallagher, Mark Mooney for D Swinburne (53).
Donegal: Corey Byrne, Aaron Gilhooly 0-1, Cillian Gildea, Anthony Doherty, Matthew Mulholland, Caolan Gallagher, Michael Coughlan, Padraig McGettigan, 1-0 (pen), Shane Gillespie 0-1, Josh Conlon 0-1, Shane O’Donnell 0-4 (2f), Dylan Doogan 0-1, Eric Carr, Rory O’Donnell, Jonathan Toye 0-2. Subs: Jamie Grant for C Gallagher (49).Charlie Breslin for Dylan Doogan, Ronan Frian for Josh Conlon
Conor Dourneen (Cavan).