GOALKEEPER Ronan McGeehin was the penalty shoot-out hero as Donegal Under-20s defeated Monaghan in the Eir Grid Ulster Under-20 Championship.
Donegal 2-9 Monaghan 1-12 (after extra time, Donegal win 3-1 on penalties)
St Eunan’s man McGeehin saved three of Monaghan’s penalties after a pulsating draw in horrendous conditions at Pairc Aodh Ruadh, Ballyshannon. It means that Shaun Paul Barrett’s Donegal – who were the underdogs – move into the semi-finals.
Aaron Doherty – also from a penalty – and Ethan Harkin netted the goals for Donegal in normal time, with Gary Mohan firing to the net for the Farney.
At the close of normal time, it was 2-8 to 1-11, and there were just two points in extra time – Doherty cancelling out a Jason Irwin free.
Harkin saw a late free in the testing environment miss the target.
In the shoot-out, Doherty, Eric Carr and Caolan McGroddy netted for Donegal. While Conor McKenna converted for the visitors, McGeehan denied Aaron Mulligan, Andrew Woods and Liam Óg Murphy. Monaghan ‘keeper Ryan Farrelly thwarted Harkin and Conor McHugh, but Donegal squeezed through.
The teams had been level, seven minutes before half-time, when Doherty drilled home after Padraig McGettigan was fouled to give Donegal a 1-5 to 0-5 interval lead.
Nine minutes into the second half, Mohan beat McGeehan to level it.
Harkin’s goal might have won it, but Mulligan forced extra time in the driving rain and howling wind.
Extra time couldn’t settle them but, finally, McGeehan did.
Donegal: Ronan McGeehin; Oisin Walsh, Conor O’Donnell, Paul O’Hare; Cormac Finn, Luke Gavigan (0-1), Peter McEniff; Rory O’Donnell (0-1), Richard O’Rourke; Ronan Frain (0-1), Aaron Doherty (1-2, 1-0pen, 1 ’45), Lanty Molloy; Conor McHugh, Padraig McGettigan, Ethan Harkin (1-4, 3f, 1 ’45). Subs used: Caolan McGroddy, Eric Carr, Chad McSorley, Conor Coll.