Monaghan and Donegal miss out in league semi-finals

Cork's Mark Collins and Michael Murphy of Donegal
Cork's Mark Collins and Michael Murphy of Donegal

Ulster counties, Monaghan and Donegal failed to reach the Division One finals on Sunday.

Champions Dublin edged out Monaghan by a single point while Cork had a more comfortable four point win over Donegal in the semi-finals.

Colm O’Neill’s brace of second-half goals proved decisive for Cork, his second three-pointer arrived in the 58th minute and gave the Rebels a six-point lead that they were never likely to relinquish.

Tom Clancy and Brian Hurley also netted for the winners.

At the end of an entertaining but strangely timid first half, the sides were level, Donegal 0-11 Cork 1-8.

Perhaps with one eye on the start of their Ulster Championship campaign in a little over a month, it was hard to blame Donegal in the second half but it was a real pity that the game lost its cut and thrust after a first half which yielded 17 scores from play, and produced an intriguing contest.

Monaghan will take huge heart from how close they were to toppling Dublin given that just one week ago they lost by 11 points to the same opposition at home.

Dublin also routed them in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final, so this match was a potentially important milestone for Malachy O’Rourke’s side in their quest to ascend to the elite of the game.

They were boosted by an outstanding performance from Conor McManus, who kicked 0-8, 0-5 from play, in a typically elegant attacking display.

However, it’s Dublin that ultimately won this game, and they did well to hold off a strong Monaghan second half display to advance.

Monaghan led with 15 minutes to go, but four Dublin points without reply in a dominant 10 minute spell - from Rock (2 frees), Emmet Ó Conghaile and Jack McCaffrey - guided the Sky Blues to the win

Dublin will be chasing a third Allianz League title in a row when they will face Cork in the final at Croke Park in a fortnight’s time.