Donegal ladies on cloud nine after goal-crazy win over Westmeath

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Donegal were on cloud nine after going goal crazy for a first Lidl National League win of the year against Westmeath.

Donegal 9-17 Westmeath 1-5

By Charlie Collins in Derrylin

Yvonne Bonner started with a stunning 3-6, a week after heavy snowfall forced the abandonment of the game in Mullingar, while Donegal were in front.

After a compromise to take the reschedule game to Derrylin in Fermanagh, Donegal picked up where they left off, although Westmeath were on their coat tails for much of the opening half-an-hour.

All-Star Niamh Hegarty bagged an early brace of goals for Donegal, but when Fiona Claffey rattled the back of Niamh Mailey’s net, Westmeath were within a point.

Laura Lee Walsh drilled over in the 27th minute and Westmeath drew level.

But Donegal finished the first half with a purple patch.

Hegarty fed Bonner for a brilliant goal and, just a minute later, Bonner took receipt from a sideline ball, slalomed 50 metres towards goal before firing home.

Karen Guthrie’s free had Donegal 4-3 to 1-5 ahead at the break and Donegal would keep their opponents scoreless for the entire second half.

It was all one-way traffic in part two.

Donegal hit five points in a row through Bonner (2), Katy Herron, Aoife McDonnell and Guthrie.

After a Bonner shot was blocked, Eilish Ward tucked home Donegal’s fifth before a wonderful move, involving a handful of players, concluded with Bonner bagging the hat-trick.

Sarah Jane McDonald, one of the new faces in the Tir Chonaill squad in 2018, blasted a quickfire 1-1 and Grainne Houston got in on the act.

The Westmeath rearguard was opened again for McDonnell to net and Donegal concluded with Houston and former Irish soccer international Ciara Grant tacking on points to seal a 36-point success.

Scorers – Donegal: Y Bonner 3-6, (3f), N Hegarty 2-1, A McDonnell, G Houston, SJ McDonald 1-1 each, E Ward 1-0, K Guthrie (1f), R Friel 0-2 each, K Herron, B Gallagher (1f), C Grant 0-1 each

Westmeath: F Claffey 1-1, K Hegarty, K McDermott, L Walsh (1f), M Foley (1f) 0-1 each

Donegal: N Mailey; E Ward, N McLaughlin, O McCafferty; AM McGlynn, C Hegarty, A McDonnell; K Herron, E Gallagher; K Guthrie, N Hegarty, B McLaughlin; R Friel, Y Bonner, SJ McDonald.

Subs used: E McCrory, N Carr, C Grant, P McGrory, M Breslin, G Houston, K McKinney, A McDonnell, S McGinty.

Westmeath: K Walsh; R Dillon, A Giles, N Feery; J Rodgers, F Claffey, F Coyle; K McDermott, A Jones; K Hegarty, MA Foley, J Maher; C Thornton, L Walsh, L McCartney. Subs used: K Bryce-Jordan, L Brennan, R O’Connor, S Dolan, E Cronin, B Geoghan, C Kelly.

Referee: G McMahon (Mayo)

Sports writer from St Johnston, now based in Letterkenny, with ten years' experience covering sport in Donegal. Was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.

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