Monaghan ended a 19-year wait for a Dr. McKenna Cup title with a 1-11 to 0-13 victory over Donegal at O’Neill’s Healy Park in Omagh.
Monaghan led 1-7 to 0-4 at the half-time break and held off a second-half comeback from Donegal to win by the smallest of margins.
Monaghan made the superior start and led 1-3 to 0-3 at the first water break; Dessie Ward’s goal on four minutes separating the sides.
The Farney men were even more impressive in the second quarter and points from Dessie Ward, Micheal Bannigan, Andrew Woods and Shane Carey made it a six-point game at half-time.
Monaghan made a blistering start to the second half and three points inside the first nine minutes saw Seamus McEnaney’s men move nine points clear.
The margin could’ve been greater but Aaron Mulligan missed a goal chance on 45 minutes; he was repelled by a fine save from Michael Lynch.
Donegal responded impressively and two pointed frees from substitute Michael Murphy along with a score from Ryan McHugh restored the six-point deficit at the second water break.
Murphy’s introduction galvanised Donegal completely and Declan Bonner’s men hit six of the last seven scores to make it a one-point game two minutes into injury time.
Donegal couldn’t find an equaliser as Monaghan held on for a one-point victory and claimed a first Dr.McKenna cup title since 2003.