All-Ireland Ladies Football Intermediate Championship Final – Donegal 2-12 Waterford 0-16

Donegal defeated Waterford by 2-12 to 0-16 in the All-Ireland Ladies Football Intermediate Championship Final on Sunday at Croke Park.

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies intermediate football championship final

Donegal 2-12 Waterford 0-16

by Jackie Cahill at Croke Park….

LETHAL full-forward Yvonne McMonagle bagged 2-5 from play as Donegal claimed the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies intermediate football championship title at Croke Park on Sunday.

The north-westerners captured the Mary Quinn memorial cup with a hard-fought two-point victory against Munster champions Waterford, who were appearing in their very first All-Ireland since the senior decider in 2000.

Ulster champions Donegal will make the step up to the senior championship in 2011 and what a season it has been for Michael Naughton’s team, who added the All-Ireland crown to the Bord Gáis Energy National League Division 2 title.

Donegal repelled a spirited fightback from Waterford and came again with a strong surge midway through the second half to clinch the silverware.

Donegal led by two points at half-time, 1-7 to 0-8, and stretched that lead to five less than two minutes after the restart when McMonagle rattled home the second of her two brilliant goals.

McMonagle’s first, in the 22nd minute of the first half, was brilliantly finished at the Hill 16 end with her left foot and she cracked home her second with her right boot.

The Glenfin star’s ability to kick off both feet makes her so difficult to mark and this was an attacking display right out of the top drawer as all five of her points from play were textbook efforts.

One first half point from tight on the endline was worth the admission fee alone and McMonagle would go on to torment the Waterford defence in a roving commission.

Overall, 2003 All-Ireland junior champions Donegal created the better goal chances, five alone in the first half.

Eilish Ward was denied by Waterford goalkeeper Aimée Jordan in the 14th minute, Niamh Hegarty shot wide soon after before McMonagle finally broke through the Déise resistance, after Hegarty had hit the post seconds earlier.

Hegarty went close again four minutes before half-time, after Geraldine McLaughlin had a goal ruled out.

An overworked Waterford defence had suffered an early blow when Gráinne Enright was sin-binned in the sixth minute but the damage was minor.

0-3 to 0-1 clear when Enright picked up her yellow card, the scores were tied at 0-4 apiece when she returned.

The star turn all through this game was McMonagle, who also starred when Donegal won the Division 2 final against Kildare earlier this year.

She bombed through for a sensational goal early in the second half but despite going five points down, Waterford refused to wilt.

And a run of five unanswered points, with top-scorer Michelle Ryan on song from frees, hauled Waterford level at 0-13 to 2-7 by the 44th minute.

Donegal had gone 13 minutes on the clock without a score before McLaughlin popped over a 45th minute point from play before McMonagle, one with her left and then with her right, slotted over two points from play.

2-10 to 0-13 clear, Donegal had breathing space again having weathered the Waterford storm and while Jason Lynch’s team twice got back to within a single point, the Ulster standard bearers held on to clinch a memorable league and championship double.

Scorers for Donegal: Y McMonagle 2-5, G McLaughlin 0-5 (3f), A McDonnell & G Houston 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: M Ryan 0-8f, L Wall & S Ryan 0-2 each, G Enright, M McGrath, E Power & A Wall 0-1 each.

DONEGAL: R McClafferty; D Toner, D Foley, K Wilson; C Hegarty, M Herron, T McCafferty; A McDonnell, K Guthrie; G Houston, N Hegarty, K Feeney; E Ward, Y McMonagle, G McLaughlin.

Subs: N Stapleton for Foley (40), K Keeney for Houston (49), R Friel for Feeney (52).

WATERFORD: A Jordan; N Dunphy G Enright, L Hogan; L Ryan, M Foley, M Wall; M McGrath, E Power; G Kenneally, M Ryan, L Wall; M Delahunty, S Ryan, A Wall.

Subs: N Briggs for Delahunty (39), A Dunphy for M Wall (44).

Referee: D McEnery (Westmeath)