DONEGAL’S dynamic duo of Geraldine McLaughlin and Yvonne McMonagle put Galway to the sword in this afternoon’s Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 1 semi-final at Markievicz Park in Sligo – scoring 5-8 between them.
Donegal 5-11 Galway 1-7
By Jackie Cahill at Markievicz Park, Sligo
McLaughlin scored an incredible 4-4 and McMonagle added 1-4 as Donegal, Division 2 champions last year, qualified for their very first Division 1 final.
They’ll meet Cork at Parnell Park on May 7 for top-flight silverware and the holders will be forewarned, as McLaughlin and McMonagle combined for 3-10 when the counties met in the group stages of the League.
In recent weeks, the ‘Supermacs’ have been unstoppable in attack for Donegal and they were deadly against Galway, in spite of greasy conditions.
McLaughlin’s won and netted an early penalty to set Donegal on their way and at the end of a low-scoring first half, they were 1-4 to 0-3 clear.
Galway were unlucky not to raise a green flag of their own in the first half when Ailbhe Davoren struck the post with a shot, before the game really came to life after the break.
Donegal had Katie Herron sent to the sin-bin for a sliding tackle in first half stoppage time but while she was off the pitch, Micheal Naughton’s charges coped admirably.
Despite conceding a fine goal to Roisín Leonard early in the second half, a clinical left-footed strike into the bottom corner from Tracey Leonard’s pass, Donegal responded with four unanswered points.
McLaughlin also pulled a decent goal chance wide and while Tracey Leonard kept Galway in touch with a pointed free, Donegal were in the ascendancy.
With Herron now back on the pitch, they upped the ante, McLaughlin pointing from play before McMonagle goaled in the 40th minute.
Herron was the provider with a long ball into the Galway goalmouth and McMonagle beat Dearbhla Gower to the punch.
McLaughlin’s second goal arrived six minutes later and she completed her hat-trick with four minutes of normal time remaining, ghosting in behind Áine Seoighe to collect Barbara Hannon’s searching ball, before finishing clinically.
There was still time for McLaughlin to bag goal number 4, with two minutes of normal time left, when she converted another penalty.
Galway’s miserable afternoon was complete late on when sub Áine McDonagh was sent off on a straight red card, as the Tribeswomen fell to a 16-point defeat.
Scorers for Donegal: G McLaughlin 4-4 (2-0 pens, 0-2f), Y McMonagle 1-4, K Guthrie (f), G Houston & R Friel 0-1 each.
Scorers for Galway: R Leonard 1-1, T Leonard 0-2f, C Cormican, N Connolly, B Hannon & O Divilly 0-1 each.
DONEGAL: A McColgan; T Doherty, E Gallagher, N McLaughlin; T McClafferty, C Hegarty, D Foley; K Herron, K Guthrie; G Houston, N Hegarty, S McGruddy; R Friel, G McLaughlin, Y McMonagle. Subs: P McGroarty for Guthrie (h.t.), K Keeney for Foley (43), A McDonald for McGruddy (57), K Wilson for N McLaughlin (57), N Carr for Houston (60+4).
GALWAY: D Gower; C Cormican, Á Seoighe, N Connolly; G Conneally, F Cooney, S Burke; L Gannon, C Cooney; O Divilly, M Glynn, B Hannon; T Leonard, R Leonard, A Davoren. Subs: Á McDonagh for Cormican (52), E Reaney for Gannon (52), L Hannon for Davoren (60), D Gorman for Glynn (60+2).
Referee: G Carmody (Mayo)