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Monaghan win first McKenna Cup in 19 years, Wexford hold on to reach Walsh Cup final

The Monaghan footballers and Wexford hurlers both fended off incredible comeback attempts by their opponents.

Monaghan captain Ryan Wylie lifts the Bank of Ireland Dr. McKenna Cup.
Monaghan captain Ryan Wylie lifts the Bank of Ireland Dr. McKenna Cup.
Image: Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

Monaghan 1-11 Donegal 0-13

MONAGHAN HELD OFF a Donegal fightback to win their first Dr McKenna Cup in 19 years at O’Neill’s Healy Park.

They almost blew a nine-point lead en route, however, with second-half substitute Michael Murphy giving the previously rudderless Donegal some direction.

In the end, Murphy’s six points inspired only a near comeback if not quite the result Donegal desired.

Meanwhile, Seamus McEnaney will hope to have Conor McManus available for the first time this year when Monaghan face All-Ireland champions Tyrone in their league opener next year.

Dessie Ward netted Monaghan’s goal, which proved pivotal. The Balbay Pearse Brothers man struck after just four minutes, collecting a beautiful pass by Jack McCarron before rifling home.

Monaghan: R Beggan; S Hanratty, K Duffy, R Wylie; R McAnespie, C Walsh (0-01), C McCarthy; D Hughes, K Lavelle; S Carey (0-02), M Bannigan (0-05, 3f), D Ward (1-00); A Mulligan, J McCarron (0-02, 2f), A Woods (0-01).

Subs: N Kearns for Lavelle (h-t), D garland for Carey (h-t), K O’Connell for McCarthy (43), F Kelly for Walsh (43), C Boyle for Wylie (54), D Wylie for Hughes (54), G Mohan for Woods
(57), Mealiff for Mulligan (70)

Donegal: M Lynch; C Ward, B McCole, E Ban Gallagher; R McHugh (0-01), P Brennan, T McClenaghan; J McGee, C Thompson (0-01); O McFadden Ferry, P Mogan, S O’Donnell; P McBrearty (0-03, 1f), C McGuinness (0-01, f), C O’Donnell.

Subs: M Murphy (0-06, 5f) for McGuinness (h-t), E O’Donnell for O’Donnell (h-t), C McGonagle for Brennan (h-t), N O’Donnell for C O’Donnell (48), M Langan (0-01) for McGee (51), J McKelvey for McClenaghan (53), E Doherty for McFadden Ferry (57)

Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).

Wexford 2-25 Kilkenny 2-25

Reigning Walsh Cup champions Wexford are back in the final after surviving an epic Kilkenny comeback.

The Cats could have won it late on, Martin Keoghan rifling off the post in added time, only seconds after Conor McDonald had pulled Wexford back level.

Darragh Egan’s side had seemed home and hosed with just over 15 minutes remaining, leading 2-20 to 1-15 after substitute Cathal Dunbar found the net. A Padraig Walsh goal hauled Kilkenny back into it, however, and in the end, Wexford advanced only on goal difference to a final against Dublin.

Oisín Foley, a younger brother of Wexford defender Pádraig, impressed with five first-half points.

Wexford: Mark Fanning (1-00 pen); Simon Donohoe, Liam Ryan, Conor Devitt; Connal Flood (0-04), Pádraig Foley, Matthew O’Hanlon (0-01); Conor Hearne (0-01), Jack O’Connor; Oisín Foley (0-05), Kevin Foley, Charlie McGuckin; Cian Byrne (0-03, 2f), Conor McDonald (0-06), Rory Higgins (0-01).

Subs: Mikey Dwyer for Hearne (ht), Harry Kehoe (0-01) for Byrne (46), Paul Morris (0-03, 2f) for Higgins (46), Cathal Dunbar (1-00) for O’Connor (50), David Dunne for O Foley (57), Aodhán Doyle for McGuckin (60), Ben Edwards for P Foley (69).

Kilkenny: Darren Brennan; Mikey Butler, Tommy Walsh, Ciarán Wallace; James Maher (0-01), Huw Lawlor, Cillian Buckley; Cian Kenny (0-08, 4f), Michael Carey; Pádraig Walsh (1-01), Eoin O’Shea (0-01), John Donnelly (0-01); James Bergin (0-06, 6f), Martin Keoghan (0-02), Chris Bolger (1-01).

Subs: Walter Walsh (0-02) for Bergin (43), Robbie Buckley for Carey (48), David Blanchfield (0-01f) for Buckley (54), Colm Prenderville (0-01) for O’Shea (57).

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Referee: Thomas Gleeson (Dublin).

Galway 1-23 Antrim 1-17

Meanwhile, Galway finished up their Walsh Cup campaign with a hard-fought victory over Antrim at Darver.

Henry Shefflin called upon plenty of experience to gear up for the league on a winning note, Daithi Burke cleaning up at the back and Conor Whelan teeing up John Fleming for a goal in what was both men’s first outing of the season.

Joe Cooney, too, was impressive in the Tribesmen’s midfield, while Michael Bradley registered Antrim’s goal mere moments after Fleming had found the net for Galway.

Galway: E Murphy; D Cronin, D Burke, J Grealish; T Killeen, P Mannion, M Gill; J Cooney, C Caulfield; C Mannion, N Burke, T Monaghan; C Whelan, J Fleming, G Lee. Subs: J Coen for Caulfield (49), J Hastings for N Burke (50), G Thomas for Fleming (52), S Ryan for Gill (60), C Killeen for C Mannion (65), D Nevin for T Killeen (68), John Cooney for Lee (68), S Loftus for Joe Cooney (70), D Kilcommins for Monaghan (70).

Antrim: R Elliott; D Kearney, G Walsh, A Crawford; P Burke, E Campbell, J Maskey; D McKernan K Molloy; N McManus, E O’Neill, M Bradley; S Elliott, C McCann, J McNaughton. Subs: N O’Connor for Kearney (33), C Johnston for McCann (47), C Clarke for O’Neill (50), C Cunning for McNaughton (50), C Bohill for McKernan (57), S Walsh for Bradley (63), S Rooney for Crawford (63), D Murphy for S Elliot (63), R McCambridge for McManus (66).

Referee: K Brady (Louth).

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