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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 12°C
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# Champions
Monaghan shock Donegal to claim first Ulster title in 25 years
Malachy O’Rourke’s side were too strong for the reigning All-Ireland champions today in Clones.

Monaghan 0-13
Donegal 0-7

MONAGHAN STUNNED DONEGAL to claim their first Ulster senior football title in 25 years with a memorable victory in this afternoon’s decider in Clones.

Donegal’s dreams of claiming a third successive provincial crown were dashed by a superb performance from a well-drilled Monaghan team.

Malachy O’Rourke’s side were full value for their success as they booked their spot in this year’s All-Ireland senior football quarter-finals whereas Donegal must pick themselves up with a Round 4 qualifier meeting with Laois next weekend.

Monaghan exploded from the traps as they were intent on banishing the memories of their final losses in 2007 and 2010. They shot over four points without reply in the opening seven minutes of the game and played with great intensity.

Conor McManus hit a free in the 29th minute to stretch their lead and it took Donegal 32 minutes to get off the mark when Colm McFadden popped over a free.

But Frank McGlynn raised a white flag before the break to leave Jim McGuinness’s side trailing by 0-5 to 0-2 at the interval.

Donegal were struggling but were still in touch despite the early setback of seeing Mark McHugh go off injured.

Monaghan emerged after the break in a determined mood with man-of-the-match Kieran Hughes firing over three points in the opening ten minutes of the second-half and Ryan McHugh managing only one in reply for Donegal.

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Donegal tried to fight their way back into contention but star attackers Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden were held scoreless from play by a Monaghan defence where Drew Wylie, Vinny Corey and Dessie Mone all sparkled.

A McFadden free in the 60th minute meant Donegal were only 0-9 to 0-5 adrift but Monaghan kicked for home in decisive fashion. They still lead by four points, 0-11 to 0-7, approaching full-time with the likes of Padraig Donaghy and Darren Hughes outstanding throughout.

And goalkeeper Rory Beggan and substitute Tommy Freeman grabbed the insurance points in injury-time to seal a famous win for the Farney men.

Scorers for Monaghan: Kieran Hughes, Conor McManus (0-3f) 0-3 each, Rory Beggan 0-2 (0-1f, 0-1 ’45), Darren Hughes, Padraig Donaghy, Dessie Mone, Christopher McGuinness, Tommy Freeman 0-1 each.
Scorers for Donegal: Colm McFadden 0-4 (0-4f), Ryan McHugh, Frank McGlynn, Rory Kavanagh 0-1 each.

MONAGHAN: Rory Beggan; Kieran Duffy, Drew Wylie, Colin Walshe; Vincent Corey, Neil McAdam, Dessie Mone; Owen Lennon, Darren Hughes; Paul Finlay, Stephen Gollogly, Dermot Malone; Padraig Donaghy, Kieran Hughes, Conor McManus.

Subs: Gavin Doogan for Gollogly (inj) (9), Dick Clerkin for Doogan (52), Christopher McGuinness for Malone (66), Tommy Freeman for McManus (69).

DONEGAL: Paul Durcan; Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Eamonn McGee; Anthony Thompson, Karl Lacey, Frank McGlynn; Rory Kavanagh, Ryan Bradley; Mark McHugh, Leo McLoone, Marty O’Reilly; Paddy McBrearty, Michael Murphy, Colm McFadden.

Subs: David Walsh for McHugh (inj) (9), Neil Gallagher for O’Reilly (23), Ross Wherity for McLoone (32), Ryan McHugh for Walsh (half-time), Martin McElhinney for Bradley (65).

Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)

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