Donegal Maintain 100% Record in Meath

Despite a brave committed performance from the Royals, Donegal took home all three points from a beautiful afternoon in Trim on Sunday afternoon. Meath were just three adrift at half time and despite a purple patch early in the second half, Donegal pulled ahead and ended the game the stronger to win by nine points by the final whistle.

Goul Mouth scramble in today's Lidl NFL Round 4 encounter in Trim

Eilish Ward grabbed the first score of the game for Donegal on two minutes but it was the Royals that started the game the brighter, Kate Byrne rattling the Donegal net on four minutes to take the lead. Yvonne McMonagle was unlucky to see her effort on 5 minutes skate across the Meath goal line but Geraldine McLaughlin pulled one back for the visiting side on five minutes to leave just a point between the sides. Stacey Grimes increased the Royal lead to two on 7 minutes from a free when Ailbhe McHugh was fouled. The teams swapped scores in the 11th minute, McMonagle on target for Donegal while Bláthanid Keogh got her first of three scores after good work from Shauna Ennis. McHugh pushed the Royals into a five point lead on 12 mins as she slipped the ball past Gallagher in the Donegal net. This was to be Meath’s last score until 29th minute as Donegal upped it a gear, Guthrie and McLaughlin each converting a free on 13 and 17 mins respectively. Donegal levelled the game on 18 minutes, Kelly Wilson found herself one on one with Louise Magee and the Donegal forward turned back to Yvonne McMonagle who only needed half an inch of space to bury the ball in the back of Louise Dunne’s net. Despite super fielding from Royal Gaels’ Niamh O’Sullivan and efforts from McHugh, Vikki Wall and Julie Donnellan, Donegal hit a further six points without reply – Guthrie hitting three, one free and two from play, McMonagle hitting two, the second of which was a goal chance saved by Dunne initially and the rebound sailed between the posts on 26 mins. Niamh Hegarty as Captain led by example splitting the posts on 24 mins. McHugh brought the gap back to five points on 29 mins and Vikki Wall grabbed Meath’s third goal a minute later to leave just a brace between the teams but Hegarty hit a final point on 33 mins to push the visitor’s lead to three at half time.


Half Time; Meath 3-03, Donegal 1-12


Roisín Friel opened the scoring in the second half as she grabbed Donegal’s second goal on 32 mins. A well worked point by Bláthnaid Keogh on 33 mins showed the Meath weren’t going away, Keogh was well assisted by Stacey Grimes and Wall. A foul on Niamh Gallogly gave Stacey Grimes an opportunity her second score of the afternoon on 35 mins. On the resumption, Grimes was again in the action, fielding well and along with McHugh, Donnellan and Gallogly, Keogh got her third point of the contest on 36 mins. Ward was gifted with Donegal’s third goal a minute later as Meath were too loose at the back. Dunne was to Meath’s rescue as McMonagle’s 39th minute effort fell into her waiting arms. Gráinne Houston pointed on 40th min and there was a loud cheer from the Donegal dugout as substitute Bláthnaid McLaughlin pointed for Donegal on 42 mins from a wide angle. Indeed it could have been worse for the Royals but for some stout defending from Orla Byrne, Hannah Heskin, Paula Dunne and the industrious Stacey Grimes. Roisín Friel provided the ball to an in-form Geraldine McLaughlin as she pointed for the visiting side on 47 mins, but this was cancelled out a minute later as Niamh Gallogly got a well-deserved point.

As both sides rang in the changes, the intensity of the game remained with both teams seeing yellow, Karen Guthrie was sin binned for Donegal on 40 mins while Meath’s Bláthnaid Keogh also saw yellow on 52 mins, both for persistent fouling. Vikki Wall pointed what was to be Meath’s final score on 55 mins while McMonagle pointed her fourth point of the contest on 58 mins. Guthrie got the game’s final score deep into injury time, a long range point that ensured the Ulster side went home the happier.


Full Time; Meath 3-08, Donegal 3-17.


For the Royals this was a much improved performance and they can take great pride in the commitment, effort and determination on display. The return to the Senior panel of Royal Gaels’ Niamh O’Sullivan and the introduction of Seneschalstown’s Amy Gilsenan to Senior inter county action is a bright sign for this team who now need time to come together. However, there is little time to waste as Meath will travel to Westmeath next Sunday to take on last year’s Leinster Senior Championship finalists. However, they do so with passion and determination that has become a hallmark of this Senior side.


Meath Team & Scorers: Louise Dunne, Aideen Guy, Hannah Heskin, Orla Byrne, Shauna Ennis, Paula Dunne, Síofra Cleary, Bláthnaid Keogh (0-03), Niamh O’Sullivan, Stacey Grimes (0-02, 1f), Vikki Wall (1-01, 1f), Niamh Gallogly (0-01), Ailbhe McHugh (1-01), Kate Byrne (1-00, C), Julie Donnellan.

Subs: Amy Gilsenan for Cleary (47 mins), Shelley Melia for Guy (47 mins), Caitriona Keogan for O.Byrne (56 mins), Ciara Donoghue for McHugh (57 mins), Jenny Rispin for Donnellan (58 mins).


Donegal Team & Scorers: Laura Gallagher, Teresa Doherty, Kelly Wilson, Nicole McLaughlin, Theresa McCafferty, Ciara Hegarty, Erica Hanna, Katy Herron, Karen Guthrie (0-05, 2f), Roisin Friel (1-00), Niamh Hegarty (0-02, C), Gráinne Houston (0-01), Eilish Ward (1-01), Yvonne McMonagle (1-04), Geraldine McLaughlin (0-03, 1f).

Subs: Deirdre Foley for Doherty (HT), Emer Gallagher for Wilson (HT), Bláthnaid McLaughlin (0-01) for Hanna (HT), Emer Bradley for McCafferty (56 mins).



Referee: Stephen McNulty (Wicklow)

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