Monaghan received the perfect boost ahead of their Ulster U17FC preliminary round clash with Derry next Saturday evening when they ran out comfortable winners over Donegal in the Jim McGuigan Memorial Cup final at Drumragh, Co. Tyrone on Saturday.
Goals in either half from Jason Irwin and Loughlin Power helped Seamus 'Banty' McEnaney's charges to the Ulster U17FL title after Donegal had opened up a 0-7 to 0-2 lead inside the first quarter thanks to points from Leo Dunphy (three) and Eric Carr (two).
Irwin hit back with a goal to reduce the deficit to two points before Monaghan finished the first half strongly to take a 1-9 to 0-9 lead into the break.
And with the wind behind them in the second half, they kicked on. Power netted within a minute of the restart before Monaghan added five more points without reply per Sean Jones (three), Jason Irwin and Aaron Mulligan.
Substitute Dylan Doogan got a goal back for Donegal in the 42nd minute, but the Farney County's victory was never in doubt as late points from Robbie Hanratty, Sean Jones and Michael Meehan sealed Donegal's fate.
Monaghan: R McNulty, J McGeown, J Doogan, S Hanratty, C Flood, B O'Dufaigh, J McGarrell 0-1, A Moore, J Wilson, A Mulligan 0-4 (2f), S Jones 0-7 (2f), K Gallagher 0-3, D Swinburne, L Power 1-0, J Irwin 1-4. Subs: M Meehan 0-1 for J Mc Geown, R Hanratty 0-1 (f) for J Wilson, O O'Hanlon for A Mulligan, M Mooney for J Doogan, R McKeown for J Irwin, L McCabe for K Gallagher.
Donegal: C Byrne, A Gilhooley, C Gildea, C Gallagher, E Carr 0-3, S Gillespie, J Grant, M Coughlan, R O'Donnell, S O'Donnell 0-3 (2f), A Doherty, S McFadden, S Rooney, N Byrne 0-1, L Dunphy 0-4. Subs: J Toye for S McFadden, D Doogan 1-1 for J Grant, C Breslin for M Coughlan, Josh Conlon for Leo Dunphy, S Og Byrne for S Rooney.
Referee: M Moore (Down).