Late goals help Donegal pip Dublin at the post to make Division One final

Meath scoring blitz at start of second half does for Mayo in second semi-final

Donegal 2-8 Dublin 1-10

Late goals from Emma McCrory and Yvonne Bonner booked Donegal their place in a first Lidl National Football League Division One final since 2017 after victory over Dublin.

Donegal led by 0-7 to 1-2 at half-time but Dublin hit back and were four in front with 57 minutes on the clock at St Tiernach’s Park in Clones.

However, substitute McCrory was first to the loose ball when it ricocheted off the bar for Donegal’s first goal, before Bonner fired to an empty net a minute later, securing a last-gasp win for Maxi Curran’s side.

Dublin attacked early and spurned two chances before Lyndsey Davey got her side's only point of that quarter on six minutes. Thereafter, Donegal dominated and Geraldine McLaughlin levelled the game from a free.

Two Karen Guthrie frees in as many minutes pushed her side into a two-point lead. Donegal continued to dominate possession and Geraldine McLaughlin converted another score on 14 minutes after Guthrie was fouled.

As Dublin turned defensive Kate Sullivan excelled, but it was Donegal that went into the water break the happier as Guthrie added her first point from play to ensure Donegal led by four at the break.

Dublin went on the attack immediately when play resumed and were unlucky not to score when a terrific run from Jennifer Dunne right at the heart of the Donegal defence resulted in a free for Sullivan. Then there was a mix-up in the defence, Hannah Tyrrell intercepted and the TG4 All Star made no mistake with the finish for Dublin's goal.

Sullivan scored too but Donegal persevered and a point from play for Bonner, along with a third Geraldine McLaughlin free sent Donegal in with a 0-7 to 1-2 lead at the break.

Sullivan converted a free within two minutes of the restart to reduce the deficit. They didn’t have to wait long for the equaliser as Davey converted her second point on 37 minutes to level up the scores.

Nicole Owens kicked Dublin in front on 37 minutes only for Bonner to level it again, but Dunne grabbed her first score to send Dublin into the second-half water break one point ahead.

Orlagh Nolan added a point, as did Sinéad Aherne on her seasonal reappearance. A free from Tyrrell and a terrific score from Owens handed Dublin a four-point lead late on.

However, Donegal weren’t finished yet and goals from McCrory and Bonner meant they advanced.

DONEGAL: R McCafferty; S McFadden, E McGinley, N Boyle; N Carr, Y Bonner (1-2), T Hegarty; Nicole McLaughlin, R Rodgers; K Herron, Niamh McLaughlin, S Twohig; B McLaughlin, K Guthrie (0-3, two frees), G McLaughlin (0-3, three frees).

Subs: A Boyle Carr for McFadden (33 mins), S White for B McLaughlin (40), E McCrory (1-0) for Hegarty (55).

DUBLIN: C Trant; J Tobin, N Collins, L Caffrey; A Kane, M Byrne, O Nolan (0-1); J Dunne (0-1), K McDaid; L Davey (0-2), N Owens (0-2), S Woods; H Tyrrell (1-1, free), N Hetherton, K Sullivan (0-2, one free).

Subs: C Rowe for Hetherton (30), S Killeen for Woods (30), J Egan for Davey (50), R Hartnett for McDaid (54), S Aherne (0-1) for Sullivan (54).

Referee: Gus Chapman (Sligo).

Meath 2-12 Mayo 1-9

Orlagh Lally scored 1-2 as Meath advanced to the final at the expense of Mayo in Clones.

It’s a first Division One decider for the Royals since 2006 on a day where Kelsey Nesbitt scored their other goal.

In a highly contested semi-final, it was Michael Moyles’s Mayo side that led by 0-7 to 0-4 at the half-time break. However, a strong wind that blew throughout the contest was best used by the reigning All-Ireland champions. Meath hit 2-8 in that second half to ensure the success story continues.

Lisa Cafferky got the game’s opening score but a Stacey Grimes free cancelled that out two minutes later. Mayo were dominating possession and a long-range point from Shauna Howley saw them take the lead.

Meath were unlucky not to get back in front as a quick Grimes free to Nesbitt forced a save from Aisling Tarpey. Mayo were reduced to 14 when Aoife Geraghty was sin-binned for a challenge on Vikki Wall but a Howley free sent Mayo into the water break leading by 0-3 to 0-1.

Megan Thynne reduced Meath’s deficit to one after a team move involving Lally, Maire O’Shaughnessy and Wall. Howley converted her second free but on the resumption this was cancelled out by Emma Duggan.

A Howley free and a second Lisa Cafferky point pushed Mayo into a four-point lead on 22 minutes before Duggan got her second point of the contest from distance. A Sinéad Cafferky point meant Mayo led by three at half-time.

But the floodgates opened as the second half got underway with Meath hitting 2-5 unanswered in the first 10 minutes to seize control. Nesbitt finished to the net for Meath’s first goal on 35 minutes while a super pass from Wall set up Lally and she rifled to the net on 40 minutes to push the Royals into an eight-point advantage.

Mayo refused to give in and they got back into contention when Lisa Cafferky scored a goal in the 43rd minute. Points from Aoife Geraghty and substitute Ciara Needham reduced the deficit to three points. Duggan tagged on her fourth point and at the second-half water break Meath led by 2-10 to 1-9.

In the final quarter, Mayo piled on the pressure but the Meath defence was unrelenting and with Katie Newe, Mary Kate Lynch and Shauna Ennis smothering Mayo attacks, they held on. Late points from substitute Emma White and Lally ensured the Royals march on to Croke Park once more.

MEATH: M McGuirk; K Newe, MK Lynch, K Nesbitt (1-0); A Ennis, E Troy, A Cleary; M O'Shaughnessy, O Lally (1-2); M Thynne (0-1), A Leahy, E Duggan (0-4); V Wall (0-1), S Grimes (0-3, three frees), N O'Sullivan.

Subs: E White (0-1) for O'Sullivan, N Gallogly for Nesbitt (both 50 mins), B Lynch for Grimes (58) O Duff for MK Lynch (58).

MAYO: A Tarpey; É Ronayne, R Flynn, D Caldwell; S Lally, F McHale, K Sullivan; S Cafferky (0-1), A Geraghty (0-1); S Howley (0-4, three frees), S Walsh, S Mulvihill; L Cafferky (1-2), C Whyte, M Reilly.

Subs: C Needham (0-1) for Whyte (43 mins), H Reape for Reilly (54), S El Massry for Flynn (58), T O'Connor for Ronayne (58).

Referee: Siobhán Coyle (Donegal).