McMonagle inspires Donegal's ladies to Intermediate title

Donegal 2-12 Waterford 0-16

Donegal 2-12 Waterford 0-16

Two superb goals from the brilliant Yvonne McMonagle inspired Donegal to triumph in the TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies Football Championship final at Croke Park.

The full forward finished with a 2-5 tally, all from play, as the Tir Chonaill girls just edged out a brave Waterford side in a thrilling decider.

The Munster side trailed by five points early in the second half, but thanks largely to the accurate free kicking of Michelle Ryan, they fought back to draw level.

But in the end, the desire and determination of the Ulster girls saw them hold out for victory.

Waterford displayed intent right from the outset, with sisters Sinead and Michelle Ryan helping them to a 0-3 to 0-1 lead.

But during the 10 minutes spent in the sin bin by Decies defender Grainne Enright, the Ulster girls shot three points, two of them immaculate efforts by full forward Yvonne McMonagle, to draw level at 0-4 each midway through the first half.

Donegal continued to look dangerous going forward, and created a host of goal chances, two of them kept out by superb saves from goalkeeper Aimee Jordan, who denied Eilish Ward and later Niamh Hegarty.

Hegarty had another chance which she sent just wide after getting on the end of a move involving skipper Aoife McDonnell and Geraldine McLaughlin.

Aileen Wall and Sinead Ryan restored Waterford’s two point cushion with well taken scores, but in the 25th minute, Tir Chonaill finally got the goal they had threatened for so long.

Ward slipped the ball to Hegarty, whose shot came back off the butt of a post, but McMonagle seized the rebound to blast to the roof of the net to give her side the lead for the first time.

Enright and Linda Wall traded points late in the half with Aoife McDonnell and Geraldine McLaughlin, and at the break, Donegal led by 1-7 to 0-8.

McMonagle stamped her class on the contest again with a wonderful goal two minutes into the second half, firing a rocket past Jordan from Karen Feeney’s pass.

Waterford tried to respond with a goal, but Elaine Power had her shot saved by the advancing Roisin McClafferty.

They did continue to press forward, and Michelle Ryan slotted over a succession of frees on her way to an eight points haul, including a brilliant long range effort which brought the sides level at the three-quarter stage.

Donegal were able to weather the storm to shoot vital scores through McLaughlin in the closing stages.

Waterford: A Jordan, N Dunphy, G Enright (0-1), L Hogan, L Ryan, M Foley, M Wall, M McGrath (0-1), E Power (0-1), G Keneally, M Ryan (0-8, 8f), L Wall (0-2), M Delahunty, S Ryan (0-2), A Wall (0-1).

Subs: A Dunphy f or M Wall, N Briggs for Delahunty.

Donegal: R McClafferty, D Toner, D Foley, K Wilson, C Hegarty, M Herron, T McCafferty, A McDonnell (0-1), K Guthrie, G Houston (0-1), N Hegarty, K Feeney, E Ward, Y McMonigle (2-5), G McLaughlin (0-5, 3f).

Subs: K Keeney for Houston, R Friel for Feeney.

Referee: D McEnery (Westmeath).

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