Football

Lidl National Football League: Tyrone keep promotion hopes alive with win over Donegal

Monaghan, Antrim, Down and Fermanagh also register victories

Lara Dahunsi was in fine scoring form for Antrim in the win over Longford
Lara Dahunsi Lara Dahunsi led the way as Antrim beat Sligo and gave themselves a chance of Division Three survival

Division Two, round five

Donegal 1-12 Tyrone 3-11, Monaghan 2-8 Cavan 2-4

TYRONE kept their promotion hopes alive with a five-point win over Donegal in Ballybofey on Sunday.

Sean O’Kane’s side remain unbeaten and second in the table behind leaders Kildare, who they play in the penultimate round in two weeks’ time.

A final berth is not yet guaranteed with still two rounds to play but if they can take anything from that game against Kildare it will be enough to both book their place in the final and win promotion back to the top flight.

The Red Hands led at half-time by 2-9 to 1-6. The sides were level at 1-3 apiece after 11 minutes, Zoe Loughran’s eighth-minute goal for Tyrone cancelled out by Donegal captain Niamh McLaughlin three minutes later.

However, Tyrone dominated the scoring after that, hitting 1-6 to Donegal’s three points to help them to that six point half-time lead, Chloe McCaffrey with their second goal in the 22nd minute.

Donegal halved the deficit by the end of the third quarter to leave a goal between them, 2-9 to 1-9, but Tyrone replied through Maria Cavanan and Emma Conroy to move five clear.

Both sides finished the game with 14 players after separate sin-bins. Canavan made sure of the Tyrone win with a 56th-minute goal from the penalty spot despite late points from McFadden (free) and White.

EABHA Sherry scored 2-3 as Monaghan held off Cavan to record their first win league win and keep alive their hopes of avoiding relegation.

They are still in the bottom two with just two more rounds left to play but winning this one, picking up three points, to add to the point they collected against Donegal two weeks ago, means Darren Greenan’s side are doing everything they can to keep their Division Two status.

Westmeath’s single-point win over Tipperary is a bit of a blow as defeat for Westmeath would have moved Monaghan out of the relegation zone.

The home side’s first-half performance paved the way for victory over their neighbours in this Ulster derby at Cloghan.

They led 2-5 to 0-3 at half-time, Sherry finding the back of the net in the first minute and they added four points to build up a 1-4 to 0-1 lead after the first quarter.

Sherry found the back of the net again in the 19th minute to put eight between them, 2-4 to 0-2, and the gap stayed at that half-time, Deirbhle McCaffrey with two of Cavan’s first half points.

McCaffrey found the back of the net in the 41st minute for the visitors to give them some hope and bring them back to four, 2-5 to 1-4, but Casey Treanor and Leanne Maguire, who hit two first half points for the home side, registered two vital points to move them six clear with 15 minutes remaining. Erin Longair converted a 56thminute penalty for Cavan to lake a kick of the ball between them but Sherry scored the insurance point a minute from time.

Division Three round five Antrim 2-15 Sligo 3-6; Offaly 0-4 Down 0-13

LATE goals from Hanna Donaghy and Ana Mulholland gave Antrim a vital first win of the season against Sligo in Davitt Park yesterday.

It looked like the sides, both fighting against relegation, might have to settle for a share of the spoils, locked at 0-15 to 3-6, as the clock ticked away but Donaghy kept her nerve to fire home from the penalty spot and that was quickly followed by Mulholland finding the back of the net to give Emma Kelly’s side all three points.

It moves Antrim off the bottom of the table as they trade places with Sligo, but they are still in danger of returning back to Division Four if they don’t finish out of the bottom two.

The sides were level four times throughout the 60-odd minutes including at half-time, 0-7 to 1-4, Cliodhna Logan and Lara Dahunsi with late first-half points to see them go in level.

Captain Ciara Brown gave Antrim the lead for the first time since the third minute of the game with an early point at the start of the second half before Dahunsi doubled their lead, 0-9 to 1-4.

However, Antrim have found it difficult to stop opposition teams finding the back of the net and Sligo did just that for the second time to put them into the lead.

Antrim fought back, Dahunsi levelling the game again and Blaithin Ni Cathail putting them in front, but once again Sligo raised a green flag.

Antrim dug deep and three points in a row through Caitlin Taggart (2) and Ellie Murphy swung the game back in their favour.

It was level again at 0-15 to 3-6 with five minutes remaining before that dramatic ending that clinched victory for Antrim.

DOWN moved into third with a 0-13 to 0-4 win over Offaly in Ferbane.

The Mourne county hit three late points to lead 0-6 to 0-3 at half-time after the sides had shared the first six of the game.

The second half all belonged to the visitors as they outscored their opponents seven points to one, Offaly’s sole score of the half coming in injury-time.

By then Down had the game wrapped up as they hit seven without reply to keep the pressure on Clare who are in second place.

Division Four, round seven Fermanagh 1-14 Derry 2-7

FERMANAGH finished top of the Division Four table and set up a semi-final with Carlow after their four-point win over Derry in Donagh.

The Erne county needed three Eimear Smyth points in the closing minutes to see off a determined Derry side, who had got back to within a point, 2-7 to 1-11, after Dara McKeever’s 52nd-minute goal.

Smyth finished with 10 points, five from frees, and hit half of her quota in the first half.

Her sister Bronagh scored a 29th-minute goal as Fermanagh led 1-9 to 1-3 at the midway stage, Erin Doherty with Derry’s 26th minute goal bringing them back to two, 0-8 to 1-3.

Derry also had a penalty saved three minutes earlier, although Megan Devine did get a point from the play.

Emma Doherty with two frees and Erin Doherty from play brought Derry to within four points 10 minutes into the second half, 1-10 to 1-6.

The sides then traded points before McKeever found the back of the net to set up that close finish, but Smyth had the last say, or three to be precise, as CJ McGourty’s side now look to the knock-out stages.

Leitrim and Limerick will contest the other semi-final on Sunday, March 24.

Derry will now turn their attentions to preparing for the Ulster junior championship, where they will meet Fermanagh in a straight final.