Magnificent second half sees Donegal defeat Dublin to win Masters All-Ireland

Magnificent second half sees Donegal defeat Dublin to win Masters All-Ireland

John Haran on the ball for Donegal Masters in All-Ireland final Picture: Thomas Gallagher

Donegal are All-Ireland Masters champions after a really exciting final in Ballyleague.

Donegal 0-9
Dublin 0-7

Donegal were just two points ahead at the break after playing with the breeze and it didn't look enough but they were magnificent in the second half.
It's hard to pick out individuals but Johnny McCafferty, Barry Monaghan, John Haran, Sean McDaid and Michael Ward were very much to the fore.
They had lost to Dublin in the semi-final last year by a point after a replay but this time they made no mistake.
The gale force wind made it a difficult day for both teams at a very picturesque St Faithleach's grounds in Ballyleague, Co Roscommon.
Donegal had the wind in their backs in the opening half but when they went in at half-time just two points in front, it didn't look good for them.
Three of their four points came from the boot of Michael 'Sticky' Ward, all from frees, while Barry Monaghan had their only point from play in the 26th minute.
Ward's first score came on 51 seconds but for a good part of the opening quarter Dublin dominated possession without getting a score. Gerry McGill and the Donegal defence were very solid.
Ward was fouled off the ball on eight minutes and he doubled the lead, but Dublin hit back on 15 minutes with a Ray Cosgrove free.
Ward's third point came a minute later but scores were hard to come by. Peter Devlin had a sniff for a goal when he got on the end of a high Brian McLaughlin delivery.
Before half-time Paul Croft lofted Dublin's second point before Barry Monaghan brought the curtain down on the low scoring first half.
Donegal had a great start to the second half with two points by the 34th minute. But they also needed a great stop from Charlie Doherty to deny Paul Croft a goal in the first minute.
Then Michael Sticky Ward pointed a free into the wind and Johnny McCafferty lofted the point of the game with his left.
Donegal had another goal chance when a great ball from Johnny McCafferty found Sean McDaid in space. He could have gone for goal but laid it off, but it came back on the ground and Brian McLaughlin leathered it first time over the bar from distance.
Ciaran McGuinness replied with a Dublin point on 40 minutes and Niall Crossan cut the lead to three.
But then Barry Monaghan hit a point that was even better than McCafferty's, as he fired over with the outside of his right on 46 minutes.
With less than a minute of normal time left Donegal wasted a free and Dublin came forward to point through Gary O'Connell to leave it 0-8 to 0-5.
With almost three minutes of added time it was back to a one point game with Dublin points from Tommy Brennan (free) and Joey Morris.
But then Peter Devlin found Sticky Ward to hit the insurance point. Dublin came again looking for a winning goal but the Donegal defence again stood strong and Kerry Ryan got an interception as the final whistle went.
The final whistle saw an outpouring of relief. Donegal had lifted the All-Ireland Masters title after four years of work since re-entering the competition.

Scorers - Doengal: Michael Ward 0-5,4f; Barry Monaghan 0-2; Brian McLaughlin, Johnny McCafferty 0-1 each.
Dublin: Gary O'Connell, Tommy Brennan (f), Ciaran McGuinness, Ray Cosgrove (f), Niall Crossan, Paul Croft, Joey Morris 0-1 each

DONEGAL: Gerry McGill; Charlie Doherty, Donal Martin, Packie McGrath; Kerry Ryan, Sean McDaid, Barry Monaghan; John Haran, Charlie Bonner; Peter McHugh, Brian McLaughlin, Johnny McCafferty; Seamus Friel, Peter Devlin, Michael Ward.
Subs (roll on): Mark Cannon, John McFadden, Paul Gallagher, Liam mcGroarty, Adrian Doherty, Seamus Ferry, Vincent Kennedy, John A McMullan, Barry Dowds, Maurice McBride, Dermot McColgan, Charlie Gallagher, Michael Canning, Benny Cassidy, Micheal McLaughlin, Sean Boyce, Gary Gillen, David Murray, PJ Gallagher, Gary McGinty.

DUBLIN: Ciaran Murray; Mick Coyne, Ian Clarke, Felim Condron; Tony Kiernan, Shane O'Sullivan, Gary O'Connell; Ross Hainsworth, Brian McCullagh; Cormac Smith, Tommy Brennan, Peter Murtagh; Ciaran McGuinness, Ray Cosgrove, Niall Crossan.
Subs (roll on): Noel Peacock, Peter Finn, Craig Kilmurray, David Spratt, Damien Flanagan, Joey Morris, Paul Croft, Ken Darcy, Johnny McNally, Paul McCabe, Peadar Andrews, Ciaran Doyle, Richie Herrity, Benjie Kelly, Andy Farrell, Shane Ryan,Mick O'Keeffe, Bernard Gaughran, James O'Connor, Derek Byrne, Justin McGrane, John Murphy, Anto Briody, Aidan Morrissey, Niall Bergin.

REFEREE: Jason McAndrew (Monaghan)

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