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Monaghan stay strong to progress in Nicky Rackard Cup

Donegal 1-12 Monaghan 1-16

By John Campbell

Monaghan dumped Donegal out of the Nicky Rackard Cup thanks to a solid second-half performance at Inniskeen on Saturday. Division 3A champions Donegal had hopes of making it to Croke Park and had beaten Armagh in their cup opener, but after defeat to Tyrone last week, Ardal McDermott's side faded away here.

Donegal began well and got a goal in the opening minute as Gerard Gilmore blocked a Brian Flanagan ball and it flew into the net. Declan Coulter and Davin Flynn tagged on points, but the Tir Chonaill men had 11 wides in a first half that should have had them out of sight.

With Fergal Rafter on song from frees, Monaghan edged back. By the end, red-hot Rafter was into double figures as he landed 10 frees, as Monaghan won thanks to a scintillating second half. Mark Traynor drew Monaghan level just after the restart, but Lee Henderson helped to maintain the Donegal lead.

The tables turned when Farney captain Brian McGuigan sailed over and they were never behind thereafter.

Eight minutes from time, Tadhg Campbell blasted past Paul Burns and Monaghan - whose defence put on a sturdy showing were on their way to a famous win.

Donegal were left to rue squandered chances, but Monaghan advance with confidence brimming to a semi-final with Derry.

Scorers: Monaghan: Treanor (0-1), F Rafter (0-10, 10f), Campbell (1-1), Boyle (0-1); McGuigan (0-3). Donegal: J Boyle (0-1), L Henderson (0-6, 6f); Coulter (0-4), Gilmore (1-0); Flynn (0-1). Referee: A Devine (Westmeath).

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