Donegal overcome Meath in tight tussle


Round 5:

Meath v Donegal

Dunganny Centre of Excellence, Meath

Sunday 24th March 2013

Throw in at 1pm.


Half Time: Meath 1-07, Donegal 1-04

Full Time: Meath 2-08, Donegal 2-11

A 1-09 haul by Geraldine McLaughlin paved the way for Donegal’s success in round 5 of the National League in a bitterly cold Dunganny today. Meath, although leading by three at half time, scored just twice in the second half and were under severe pressure from Donegal throughout. Defeat for the Royals means almost certain relegation to second tier ranks next year, although there are still two games left against Mayo (Easter Sunday 31st March) and Laois (7th April). Both fixtures will have to prove victorious for the Royals if they are to have any chance of surviving in Division One for the 2014 season.


The game opened brightly, despite the cold weather, with the teams exchanging scores early, Kate Byrne opening scoring for the Royals in the opening minute while the impressive Geraldine McLaughlin equalised with a free in the third minute. With Meath defending well, the Donegal goal in the seventh minute came as a blow as Deirdre Foley beat Aedin Murray and finished cleverly to the net. Meath responded quickly through the ever reliable Katie O’Brien in the ninth minute, a foul on Doherty gave her a quick free, who found O’Brien in space and the Captain finished with sending the ball over the black spot. Vital interceptions from Emma Troy and Laura Bagnall kept Meath’s pressure on the Donegal defence. Doherty added her first of the afternoon on 14 mins but this was cancelled out by a McLaughlin point a minute later. O’Brien netted for Meath on 18 mins to put the Royals a point in front and when Grainne McCafferty was sin binned for deliberately pulling Bridgetta Lynch’s jersey, O’Brien added another point to double the Royals advantage. Meath were clearly on top and Doherty added her second point on 21 mins to put the Royals three ahead. The pressure was all on Donegal as they could not get the ball past their own half back line, Kate Byrne, Fiona Mahon and O’Brien all keeping the pressure on the Donegal back line. O’Brien added another point on 22 mins while Doherty added Meath’s last point of the half on 23 mins. Donegal seemed to come back at the Royals for the final five minutes of the half and two points from McLaughlin before referee Gavin Corrigan blew the half time whistle ensured that Donegal stayed in touch with the home team. At half time Meath were happy with their efforts but as previous games have taught them, the second half was vitally important. At half time Meath were three points in front, 1-07 to Donegal’s 1-04.


The second half began with Donegal’s Karen Guthrie pointing from midfield, a true statement of their intentions. Doherty pointed her fourth score of the contest to keep the gap at three points. Donegal then scored three points without reply through McLaughlin (two) and Roisin Friel to level the scores. Donegal’s pressure was paying off as McLaughlin found the back of the net in the 42nd minute. This put Donegal ahead and they didn’t look back. A minute later McLaughlin was scoring again, this time from a free 20m out. Meath did get back into the game and netted for a second time through O’Brien on 47 mins. The goal demonstrated the teamwork that is still an intrinsic part of the Royals and is surely a positive to be taken from today’s performance. McLaughlin converted a free from what seemed to be a soft foul on 49 mins and once more on 53 mins. This was to be the last score of the game as further attempts were wide. Three points separated the teams when referee Corrigan blew the full time whistle, Meath 2-08, Donegal 2-11.



Meath management will surely take positives from the Royal performance today. The game was played in very windy conditions and an astro pitch which must be taken into account. At the same time, Meath have a lot of work to do before the remaining two fixtures in the next two weeks. Best for Meath today were Maire O’Shaughnessy, Fiona Mahon, Katie O’Brien and Geraldine Doherty. Donegal’s Geraldine McLaughlin rarely put a foot wrong all contest and without doubt was the star of the show. Meath will regroup and prepare for Mayo on Easter Sunday.


Meath Team & Scorers: Irene Munnelly, Orla Byrne, Aedin Murray, Eileen Rahill, Shauna Ennis, Maire O’Shaughnessy, Emma Troy, Laura Bagnall, Vivienne McCormack, Fiona Mahon, Kate Byrne (0-01), Katie O’Brien (2-03, 1f), Geraldine Doherty (0-04), Bridgetta Lynch, Sinead Coyle.

Subs: Jenny Rispin for Coyle (40 mins), Aideen Guy for Orla Byrne (48 mins), Lauren McCann for Kate Byrne, Sinead McCormack for V. McCormack (both 51 mins).

Donegal Team & Scorers: Niamh Malley, Orla Carr, Roisin McCafferty (c), Niamh Friel, Catherine Boyle, Ciara Hegarty, Deirdre Foley (1-00), Aisling Cunningham, Karen Guthrie (0-01), Roisin Friel (0-01), Niamh McLaughlin, Lorraine Molloy, Shannon McGrody, Eilish Ward, Geraldine McLaughlin (1-09, 3f).

Referee: Gavin Corrigan.

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