Colm Shalvey reports from St. Tiarnach’s Park, Clones
DUBLIN ARE ONE win away from clinching a fifth consecutive Allianz Football League Division 1 title after they edged a thrilling encounter away to Monaghan.
Dublin’s long unbeaten run in league and championship looked under threat when they trailed by six points after 45 minutes, but goals by substitutes Bernard Brogan and Jack McCaffrey saw the champions stretch that record to 36 games.
Jack McCarron and Karl O’Connell were in inspired form for Monaghan, with the former kicking 1-9, but they fell just short of a result that would have earned them a top-two finish, with Dublin’s subs making a key impact.
Five McCarron points helped Monaghan lead by 0-7 to 0-6 at half-time, with Kieran Hughes and O’Connell also on target for the hosts, while Dublin’s scores in an entertaining 35 minutes came from Dean Rock (two), James McCarthy, Paddy Andrews and midfielders Brian Fenton and Ciarán Reddin.
Reddin brought Dublin level seconds after the throw-in for the second half, but Owen Duffy and McCarron responded for Monaghan and the same duo combined to create the game’s first goal (finished by McCarron) on 40 minutes.
Conor McManus and McCarron added points, but Dean Rock responded for Dublin, who gave their challenge a boost when Ciarán Kilkenny and Paul Mannion linked up to release Bernard Brogan to slide the ball to the net.
McCarthy closed the gap to a point, but Kieran Hughes and McCarron hit back to leave Monaghan three clear with 15 minutes remaining. Andrews, Philly McMahon and Rock brought the Dubs level, however, before McCaffrey played a one-two with McCarthy and scythed through for a brilliant goal.
Fintan Kelly brought Monaghan back within two, but a Brogan point sealed a pulsating win for Dublin, who will play Kerry in next Sunday’s final at Croke Park.
Scorers for Monaghan: Jack McCarron 1-9 (0-4f), Kieran Hughes 0-2, Karl O’Connell 0-1, Conor McManus 0-1f, Fintan Kelly 0-1, Owen Duffy 0-1.
Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 0-5f, Bernard Brogan 1-1, Jack McCaffrey 1-0, James McCarthy 0-2, Paddy Andrews 0-2, Ciarán Reddin 0-2, Brian Fenton 0-1, Philip McMahon 0-1, Ciarán Kilkenny 0-1.
1. Rory Beggan (Scotstown)
2. Fintan Kelly (Clones)
3. Drew Wylie (Ballybay)
4. Ryan Wylie (Ballybay)
7. Karl O’Connell (Tyholland)
19. Vincent Corey (Clontibret)
26. Colin Walshe (Doohamlet)
8. Darren Hughes (Scotstown)
9. Kieran Hughes (Scotstown)
12. Gavin Doogan (Magheracloone)
11. Shane Carey (Scotstown)
5. Dessie Ward (Ballybay)
13. Owen Duffy (Latton)
14. Jack McCarron (Currin)
15. Conor McManus (Clontibret)
6. Neil McAdam (Monaghan Harps) for Walshe (inj., 18)
23. Kieran Duffy (Latton) for D Hughes (black card, 30)
18. Dermot Malone (Castleblayney for O Duffy (53)
22. Thomas Kerr (Ballybay) for Ward (inj., 58)
24. Conor McCarthy (Scotstown) for Doogan (67).
1. Stephen Cluxton (Parnells)
3. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala)
4. David Byrne (Naomh Olaf)
2. Philip McMahon (Ballymun Kickhams)
5. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams)
7. Eric Lowndes (Naomh Peregrine)
19. Ciarán Kilkenny (Castleknock)
8. Brian Fenton (Raheny)
9. Ciarán Reddin (St. Maur’s)
10. Paul Flynn (Fingallians)
11. Kevin McManamon (St. Jude’s)
12. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street)
13. Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams)
14. Paddy Andrews (St. Brigid’s)
24. Conor McHugh (Na Fianna)
15.Bernard Brogan (St. Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh) for McHugh (34)
23. Diarmuid Connolly (St. Vincent’s) for Scully (H-T)
22. Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf) for Reddin (41)
21. Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes) for McManamon (46)
6. Cian O’Sullivan (Kilmacud Crokes) for Connolly (black card, 50)
20. Michael Darragh MacAuley (Ballyboden St. Enda’s) for Flynn (64).
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).