Late goals pave Donegal’s path to league final

Ladies NFL Division 1 semi-final
Donegal 2-8
Dublin 1-10
By Aisling Clery
LATE goals from Emma McCrory and Yvonne Bonner booked Donegal their place in a first Lidl National Football League Division 1 final since 2017 after victory over Dublin.
Maxi Curran’s side will play All-Ireland champions Meath after their 2-12 to 1-9 win over  Mayo in the other semi-final.
Donegal led by 0-7 to 1-2 at half-time but Dublin hit back and were four in front with 57 minutes on the clock at St Tiernach’s Park in Clones.
However, substitute McCrory was first to the loose ball when it ricocheted off the bar for Donegal’s first goal, before Bonner fired to an empty net a minute later securing a last gasp win for Maxi Curran’s side.
Dublin attacked early and spurned two chances before Lyndsey Davey got her side’s only point of that quarter on six minutes. Thereafter, Donegal dominated and Geraldine McLaughlin levelled the game from a free.
Two Karen Guthrie frees in as many minutes pushed her side into a two-point lead. Donegal continued to dominate possession and McLaughlin converted another score on 14 minutes after Guthrie was fouled.
As Dublin turned defensive, Kate Sullivan excelled but it was Donegal that went into the water break the happier as Guthrie added her first point from play to ensure Donegal led by four at the break.
Dublin went on the attack immediately when play resumed and were unlucky not to score when a terrific run from Jennifer Dunne right at the heart of the Donegal defence resulted in a free for Sullivan. Then there was a mix-up in the defence, Hannah Tyrrell intercepted and the TG4 All Star made no mistake with the finish for Dublin’s goal.

ALL SMILES…Geraldine McLaughlin, Evelyn McGinley and Niamh McLaughlin celebrate Donegal’s win in Clones

Sullivan scored too but Donegal persevered and a point from play for Bonner, along with a third Geraldine McLaughlin free sent Donegal in with a 0-7 to 1-2 lead at the break.
Sullivan converted a free within two minutes of the restart to reduce the deficit. They didn’t have to wait long for the equaliser as Davey converted her second point on 37 minutes to level up the scores.
Nicole Owens kicked Dublin in front on 37 minutes only for Bonner to level it again, but Dunne grabbed her first score to send Dublin into the second half water break one point ahead.
Orlagh Nolan added a point, as did Sinéad Aherne on her seasonal reappearance. A free from Tyrrell and a terrific score from Owens handed Dublin a four-point lead late on.
However, Donegal weren’t finished yet and goals from McCrory and Bonner meant they advanced.

COMFORTABLE…Cait Towe and Armagh were comprehensive winners over Laois in Drogheda

In Division Two, Armagh were 7-19 to 1-9 winners over Laois and will play the winners of Kerry’s semi-final on Monaghan which takes place in Tuam (2.00) in Sunday.
Donegal: R McCafferty; S McFadden, E McGinley, N Boyle; N Carr, Y Bonner (1-2), T Hegarty; Nicole McLaughlin, R Rodgers; K Herron, Niamh McLaughlin, S Twohig; B McLaughlin, K Guthrie (0-3 2f), G McLaughlin (0-3f)
Subs: A Boyle Carr for McFadden (33), S White for B McLaughlin (40), E McCrory (1-0) for Hegarty (55).
Dublin: C Trant; J Tobin, N Collins, L Caffrey; A Kane, M Byrne, O Nolan (0-1); J Dunne (0-1), K McDaid; L Davey (0-2), N Owens (0-2), S Woods; H Tyrrell (1-1, 1f), N Hetherton, K Sullivan (0-2, 1f)
Subs: C Rowe for Hetherton (30), S Killeen for Woods (30), J Egan for Davey (50), R Hartnett for McDaid (54), S Aherne (0-1) for Sullivan (54)
Referee: Gus Chapman (Sligo)
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