MONAGHAN HAD SIX points to spare over 14-man Donegal in Croke Park today as Malachy O’Rourke’s men made it back-to-back Allianz National Football League titles after coming out on top in the Division 3 decider last year.
The sending off of Donegal’s Rory Kavanagh early in the second half proved to be a turning point in the game but, in truth, Monaghan were good value for their win, playing some sparking football in the spring sunshine, especially in the second half.
Donegal though had the better of opening exchanges, with Paddy McBrearty and Colm McFadden putting them into an early lead. However, Monaghan found themselves with a 0-5 to 0-3 lead mid-way through the first half thanks to points from Darren Hughes (2), Paul Finlay and Conor McManus.
That lead was five points on 32 minutes when Finlay put Monaghan 0-10 to 0-5 ahead before Michael Murphy and McFadden both scored to ensure Donegal only went into the break three points adrift.
The tide turned back in Monaghan’s favour when Kavanagh received his marching orders six minutes into the second half but Donegal were level briefly when Murphy fired home a penalty to make it 1-8 to 0-11.
However, a well taken goal from Kieran Hughes in the 57th minute settled the tie in Monaghan’s favour and O’Rourke’s men ran out comfortable winners in the end, getting four of the final six scores.
Scorers for Monaghan: Kieran Hughes 1-1, Paul Finlay (0-1f), Conor McManus 0-3 each, Darren Hughes, Paudie McKenna 0-2 each, Rory Beggan (0-1 ’45), Fintan Kelly, Dessie Mone, Chris McGuinness, Dick Clerkin 0-1 each.
Scorers for Donegal: Michael Murphy 1-4 (0-3f, 1-0 pen), Colm McFadden 0-4 (0-3f), Odhrán Mac Niallais, Patrick McBrearty 0-1 each.