Ulster SFC semi-final replay: Donegal 0-17 Monaghan 2-10
|Ulster Championship semi-final: Donegal 0-17 Monaghan 2-10|
|Donegal scorers: R Kavanagh 0-1, A Thompson 0-1, M Murphy 0-5, M McElhinney 0-1, P McBrearty 0-4, M O'Reilly 0-3, F McGlynn 0-1, M McHugh 0-1|
|Monaghan scorers: S Carey 1-1, C McManus 1-4, O Duffy 0-1, C Boyle 0-1, J McCarron 0-2, C Walshe 0-1|
Donegal defeated Ulster Championship holders Monaghan by a point in a pulsating semi-final replay between the sides at Breffni Park on Saturday.
An impressive Donegal bossed the first half but goals by Shane Carey and a penalty by Conor McManus kept Monaghan in touch at 0-10 to 2-2 at half-time.
Rory Gallagher's side kept their noses in front in the second half as the sides traded regular scores throughout.
Rory Kavanagh was sent-off in the closing stages but Donegal held out.
Recent rivalry in Ulster
The two counties have dominated the Ulster Championship in recent seasons, contesting the last three provincial finals, with Monaghan winning two and Donegal one.
Donegal were bidding for a sixth consecutive appearance in the showpiece decider, emulating the feat of the Down sides of the 1960s, and manager Rory Gallagher named an unchanged starting line-up for the keenly anticipated replay.
A McManus point deep into injury-time saw Monaghan grab a late draw a week ago, 0-14 to 1-11, with Daniel McKenna coming in for Conor McCarthy the Farney County's only change for the re-match.
Goals keep Monaghan in touch as Donegal dominate
Donegal dominated the opening period but Monaghan, guilty of numerous wides in the early stages, found themselves only two points adrift at the interval thanks to those goals from Carey and McManus.
Five unanswered points courtesy of Kavanagh, Anthony Thompson, Michael Murphy, Martin McElhinney and Patrick McBrearty got Donegal off to a flying start, before Carey replied.
Carey then fired into the back of the net in the 19th minute after McManus found him with a quickly-taken free as their opponents debated the decision to award it with the referee.
Further scores from McBrearty, Martin O'Reilly and Murphy saw their side move four points clear but a McManus point, and then the penalty converted by the same player, brought Malachy O'Rourke's side level.
Thompson needlessly brought down Ryan Wylie inside the area, earning himself a black card, with McManus making no mistake from the spot. Mark McHugh came on as Thompson's replacement.
Frank McGlynn and Murphy landed points to leave Donegal two in front at the break.
Closely contested second half
Monaghan made several changes for what turned out to be a high quality and keenly contested second half, played in wet conditions.
Scores from McBrearty (2), Murphy (2), O'Reilly (2) and McHugh, with the pick of their points from long range, helped Donegal maintain an advantage throughout.
The holders were always in contention though as McManus (3), Owen Duffy, substitutes Conor Boyle and Jack McCarron with two apiece, and Colin Walshe pointed but, despite the late dismissal of Kavanagh for two yellow cards, they just fell short.
McCarthy crucially hit the crossbar with a goal attempt when his side trailed by three, while Karl O'Connell was black-carded in the closing stages, with no replacement available as Monaghan had used all their subs.
Donegal will face the winners of Sunday's second semi-final replay at Clones between Tyrone and Cavan in the Ulster final on 17 July. Monaghan play Longford in an All-Ireland Qualifier Round 2B tie at Clones on Saturday 9 July, with a 19:00 BST throw-in.
What they said
Donegal captain Michael Murphy: "It was a big game for both sides - there is a lot of familiarity between the teams and we all gave it everything.
"It came down to very fine margins but we got a wee bit of the rub of the green and fortunately we came out on the right side.
"Both sides were well up for it and Monaghan showed great character and threw everything at us, but we're just glad to be in the final again."
How they lined up
Donegal: MA McGinley; P McGrath, C Gillespie, E McGee; R McHugh, K Lacey, F McGlynn; R Kavanagh, O Mac Niallais; A Thompson, M McElhinney, E McHugh; P McBrearty, M Murphy, M O'Reilly.
Monaghan: R Beggan; C Walshe, D Wylie, R Wylie; K Duffy, V Corey, F Kelly; K Hughes, K O'Connell, O Duffy, R McAnespie, S Carey; D McKenna, D Hughes, C McManus.
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)