Rachel Kearns finished with 0-4, but was denied on multiple occasions by Donegal goalkeeper Aoife McColgan. PHOTO: SPORTSFILE

Goal-shy Mayo punished by Donegal

By Stuart Tynan

Mayo were made to pay for a gluttony of missed goal chances as Donegal captain Niamh McLaughlin netted a second-half penalty to inflict defeat on the Mayo ladies in Ballybofey, on a scoreline of 1-11 to 0-11.

The hosts were quick out of the blocks through Niamh Hegarty and Karen Guthrie, with each sending over frees before Rachel Kearns responded in kind from the edge of the box.

Karen Guthrie restored Donegal’s slender advantage before Mayo hit four scores without reply through Shauna Howley (free), Niamh Kelly and two fine efforts from Rachel Kearns. The latter’s second point very much could have been more, but Donegal goalkeeper Aoife McColgan palmed her goal-bound strike over the bar.

After the water break, sisters Lisa and Sinead Cafferky combined to put Sinead through on goal, with McColgan coming to the rescue once again. Donegal were back level through Karen Guthrie and Niamh Hegarty, but Rachel Kearns had the final say of the half with an excellent free from 40 metres out to give Mayo a 0-7 to 0-6 lead at the break.

Substitute Suzanne White, who came on halfway through the first half, restored parity and Aoife McColgan was called into action once more to deny Rachel Kearns. Lisa Cafferky had the ball in the net from a rebound, but it was ruled out for a square ball.

The teams exchanged a pair of points each, Niamh Hegarty and Karen Guthrie finding the target once more while Tamara O’Connor sent over two delicious scores from the outside of her boot.

Mayo substitute Grace Kelly fired Mayo in front once again before the game’s decisive moment. Referee Brendan Rice pointed the spot after Karen Guthrie was brought down, and McLaughlin’s well-struck penalty left Mayo goalkeeper Aisling Tarpey with no chance.

Mayo’s misery was compounded as they finished with 14 players after Ella Brennan was sin-binned in the final ten minutes. Karen Guthrie sent over another two between the posts (one from a free), and Donegal would see the game out relatively comfortably.

Donegal: A. McGolan, N. Carr, E. McGinley, E. Gallagher, A. Marie Logue, N. McLaughlin, R. Rodgers, K. Herron, S. Twohig, B. McLaughlin, N. McLaughlin (1-0 pen), N. Boyle, N. Hegarty (0-4, 0-2f), K. Guthrie (0-6, 0-3f), R. McCafferty.

Subs: S. White (0-1), K. Keaney.

Mayo: A. Tarpey, E. Ronayne, C. McManamon, E. Brennan, T. O’Connor (0-2), O. Conlon, M. Corbett, N. Kelly (0-1), S. Cafferky, F. McHale, S. Howley (0-2f), K. Sullivan, D. Doherty, R. Kearns (0-4, 0-2f), L. Cafferky.

Subs: G. Kelly (0-1), M. Reilly, C. Whyte, F. Doherty (0-1), S. Lally, M. McHale.

Ref: B. Rice (Down)

*Full match report and reaction in this Tuesday's print edition.