McKenna Cup: Monaghan too strong for young Donegal

Monaghan's Ronan McNally and James Carroll of Donegal
Monaghan's Ronan McNally and James Carroll of Donegal

Monaghan made it back-to-back wins in the McKenna Cup with an easy 3-16 to 1-5 success over a young Donegal team.

None of Donegal's victorious All-Ireland side started Sunday's Section A match in Ballybofey with Under-21 players again being given their chance.

Monaghan led 0-7 to 1-1 at half-time with Donegal taking 28 minutes to score through an Adrian Hanlon goal.

Keith McEnaney, Dermot Malone and midfielder Darren Hughes scored the Monaghan goals in the second half.

Monaghan had five points on the board before Hanlon got Donegal off the mark, although Gary McFadden then pointed to reduce the deficit to one.

However, the second half was a stroll for Malachy O'Rourke's men who had beaten St Mary's in their opening cup game.

O'Rourke had made eight changes for this game and the visitors were simply too strong for their inexperienced opponents.

Corduff corner-forward McEnaney got Monaghan's first goal inside the first minute of the second half, Malone then turned to find plenty of room to fire in the second goal and Darren Hughes fisted the third into the net late on.

Darren's brother, right half-forward Kieran Hughes, starred for Monaghan, scoring five points, four of them from play.

Donegal's points in the second half were scored by Stephen Griffin (2), Willie Gillespie and Declan Walsh.

"It was a tougher challenge today, with our young lads up against a tough, settled, inter-county team like Monaghan, but there are plenty of positives," said Donegal manager Jim McGuinness.

"We made a conscious decision not to risk the lads coming back from holiday by putting them straight into football against teams who had been training for quite a while.

"That could possibly have led to injuries, so the senior players are focusing on their training.

"We will do that for the next couple of weeks, building up the intensity level and be right for a first game in the National League in three weeks' time."

Power NI Dr McKenna Cup results

Saturday 12 January

Section B

Armagh 1-11 3-09 Cavan

Section C

Derry 1-13 0-6 UUJ

Sunday 13 January

Section A

St Mary's University College 1-5 2-15 Fermanagh

Donegal 1-05 3-16 Monaghan

Section C

Antrim 1-10 2-13 Tyrone