Donegal 1-11 Monaghan 1-11
By Alan Foley
Conor McManus has been the man whose saved Monaghan on penalty of occasions down the years and his last-gasp penalty made for an unlikely point for his team today against Donegal.
By the 70th minute McManus had be restricted to just one pointed free all afternoon and with Donegal three points to the good it looked as though the home side had done enough to post the win that would send them to the top of the Division 1 table.
However, Donegal substitute Martin McElhinney pushed Darren Hughes in the back and referee David Gough awarded a penalty. McManus then did the rest as he sent Donegal goalkeeper Mark Anthony McGinley the wrong way.
It was certainly a point gained for Monaghan, who went in at the break a point up at 0-9 to 1-5 but having had the advantage of a significant first half wind.
Jack McCarron was in fine form with six first half scores, while the only goal of the contest had come on five minutes through a rasping effort from Michael Carroll of Donegal after fine approach play by the galloping Ryan McHugh and Eoghan Ban Gallagher.
Michael Murphy, who would score seven points in all, kept Donegal in touch and when the Donegal captain and Ciaran Thompson both scored points in the first 37 seconds of the second half it was Rory Gallagher’s team who edged in front.
However, both teams found bother in scoring with Monaghan going 21 minutes before Shane Carey finally opened their second half account.
Donegal were faring marginally better but still posted nine wides after the interval. They were three up late on with Patrick McBrearty having come on to score twice.
Monaghan, though, kept fighting until the end and McManus held his nerve to earn point.
Both Donegal and Monaghan move onto eight points from six outings and are joint second behind Dublin with one series of fixtures to go. Monaghan take on the All-Ireland champions this day week and Donegal make the trip to Mayo.
Scorers for Donegal: M Murphy 0-7 (4f), M Carroll 1-0, P McBrearty 0-2, C Thompson, E McHugh 0-1 each
Scorers for Monaghan: J McCarron 0-6 (4f), C McManus 1-1 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), M Bannigan, K Hughes, O Duffy, S Carey 0-1 each.
Donegal: MA McGinley; P McGrath, N McGee, E Doherty; R McHugh, P Brennan, E Gallagher; M Carroll (1-0), M Murphy (0-7, 4fs); C Thompson (0-1); C Mulligan, M O'Reilly, C Thompson; J Brennan, H McFadden, E McHugh (0-1). Subs: M McHugh for P Brennan (33), K Gillespie for McGee (half-time), P McBrearty (0-2) for J Brennan (43), K Lacey for Mulligan (50), McElhinney for R McHugh (60), M Langan for Thompson (63), McElhinney (70, back card).
Monaghan: R Beggan; F Kelly, D Wylie, R Wylie; R McAnespie, N McAdam, K O'Connell; D Hughes, K Hughes; D Ward, O Duffy, G Doogan; M Bannigan, J McCarron, C McManus. Subs: S Carey for McAnespie (7), C McCarthy for Ward (35 black card), D Malone for Bannigan (42), V Corey for McAdam (46), J Mealiff for Duffy (53, black card), T Kerr for Doogan (68).
Referee: David Gough (Meath).