For the first time in three years CLG Dhún na nGall decided to take notes for their own report on a Donegal Senior game and what a game to start with.
Donegal scored eight of the game’s last ten points including the final four to snatch a draw from a game which saw them nine points behind at one stage in the first-half. The game had a lively start as the teams exchanged six points in the opening six minutes , Michael Langan ,EoghanBan Gallagher and Peadar Mogan for Donegal with Conor McCarthy , Aaron Mulligan and Micheal Brannigan replying for Monaghan.
Donegal then lost Michael Murphy to injury. The initial impact of losing their talisman was catastrophic. In the next ten minutes Donegal conceded two goals and a point. Conor McCarthy scored both goals following passes from Steven O’Hanlon and Karl O’ Connell. At the water-break Monaghan led 2-04 to 0-04.
It quickly got worse as Conor McCarthy completed his hat-trick of goals to put Monaghan nine points ahead. Oisín Gallen pointed and then Michael Langan, slaloming forward from the middle of the park cracked home a super solo goal to leave it 1-05 to 3-04 after 26 minutes. The dram continued as Shaun Patton denied Darren Hughes goalbound effort, Monaghan’s full-back Conor Boyle who had received a black card earlier got another after returning to the game and the visitors were down to 14 players. Patrick McBrearty kicked three points for Donegal but Mulligan , Bannigan and O’Connell replied for Monaghan and at half-time the visitors led by five points 3-07 to 1-08.
Caolan McGonigle pointed when a goal chance looked on in the first attack of the second-half but Andrew Woods replied and after Oisin Gallen and sub Eoin McHugh pointed for Donegal to reduce the gap to three a remarkable comeback looked on the cards. Monaghan had other ideas and second-half sub Conor McManus snuffed the nascent Donegal recovery when he finished off a sweeping move, featuring a strong run from O’Hanlon, with a fourth Monaghan goal. It was now 1-11 to 4-08. McManus added another point to move the gap back out to seven and Donegal’s Daire O’Baoill received his marching orders, picking up a second yellow card to leave it fourteen-a-side going into the last quarter.
Donegal, however, showed the required character and from there we had a brilliant comeback. Patrick McBrearty kicked three, Ciaran Thompson and Oisín Gallen added two but McManus and Mulligan replied and it was 4-11 to 1-16. Monaghan failed to score again, although Niall Kearns hit the crossbar, while Niall O Donnell, Thompson and two more for McBrearty for total of eight levelled it up to give Donegal, what had looked a highly unlikely looking draw at one stage , on a final score of 1-20 to 4-11.
DONEGAL: Shaun Patton , Eoghan Ban Gallagher (0-1), Neil McGee, Brendan McCole, Ryan McHugh, Paul Brennan, Peadar Mogan (0-1), Hugh McFadden, Caolan McGonigle (0-1), Niall O Donnell (0-2), Ciaran Thompson (0-2), Michael Langan (1-1), Patrick McBrearty (0-8), Michael Murphy, Oisín Gallen (0-3)
SUBS ;Daire O Boaill for Murphy (8 mins), Eoin McHugh (0-1), for Brennan (h-t), Odhrán MacNaillais for McFadden (45 mins), Stephen McMenamin for McGee(54 mins), Paddy McGrath and Jason McGee for McCole and Gallagher (64 mins).
MONAGHAN; Rory Beggan , Kieran Duffy, Conor Boyle, Ryan Wylie, Karl O’Connell (0-1), Karl McMenamin, Ryan McAnespie (0-1), Darren Hughes, Killian Lavelle, Steven O’Hanlon, Aaron Mulligan (0-3), Michael Bannigan (0-2), Conor McCarthy (3-1), Andrew Woods (0-1), Sean Jones
SUBS ; Conor McManus ( 1-02), for Jones (h-t), ShaneHanratty for Bannigan (40 mins), Niall Kearns for Woods (52mins), Jack McCarron for O’Hanlon (55mins)
REFEREE: Barry Cassidy ( Doire )
Thanks to Charlie Collins for Report and Geraldine Diver for the Photos