Pitch criticised as Donegal sail on against Monaghan
Monaghan 1-04 Donegal 4-09
It was a game that probably shouldn't have gone ahead, but Donegal booked their place in the Ulster U21 final for the third year in a row at Healy Park, Omagh last night after a late pitch inspection.
Goals late in the first half from Jack O'Brien and Lorcan Connor put Donegal on their way before a brace in the second period from the excellent Ciaran Thompson eased their progress.
Monaghan had a glimmer of hope when Conor McCarthy netted early in the second half, but it was a false dawn for the Farney, who played from the 25th minute with 14 men after Conor Lavelle was sent off.
Donegal scored 2-4 in the closing seven minutes of the half. O'Brien palmed home from Darach O'Connor's centre and Connor latched onto Ryan McHugh's pass to net.
Hugh McFadden (2), Willie Gillespie and Thompson hit points and the passage to the semis was effectively sealed.
The game eventually got under way after a delay because of floodlight failure, and a messy opening ensued with Ryan McAnespie and O'Connor trading points before Donegal pressed their feet.
When McCarthy batted home as Donegal keeper Danny Rodgers lost the flight of Kevin Loughran's ball into the mixer, Monaghan were enriched, but Donegal were quick to settle and clicked again.
After David Kirk saved from influential sub Gillespie, Thompson fired in from the rebound. It got even better when Connor got his second and Donegal's fourth goal.
Conditions were such that former Donegal football star Martin McHugh blasted: "The first thing we should look at is the safety of the players. The referee made the wrong call."
Donegal have lost to Cavan in the last two finals, but are intent on winning back a title they last lifted in 2010.