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Monaghan survive late wobble as McManus gamble pays off

The Ulster champions had one point to spare over Tyrone.

Mickey Harte confronts referee Eddie Kinsella at the end of the game.
Mickey Harte confronts referee Eddie Kinsella at the end of the game.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Monaghan 1-12

Tyrone 0-14

CARDS, AND NOT those of the Father’s Day variety, were the order of the day in Clones this afternoon as Monaghan beat Tyrone for the first time in 26 years to begin the defence of their Ulster Senior Football title.

Three players – Dermot Malone and Darren Huges for Monaghan and Darren McCurry for Tyrone – received black cards from Eddie Kinsella while the Laois official also showed yellow cards to four players in a frustratingly inconsistent performance.

The black cards seemed to affect Monaghan in particular and Malachy O’Rourke’s men will wonder how they were left to rely on a missed Niall Morgan free in injury time to advance to a semi-final with Armagh in a fortnight’s time.

It all looked so comfortable for the defending champions when Malone scored the first goal of the game to put them five points up seven minutes into the second half.

It was a case of third time lucky for the Farney after Kieran Hughes had missed two earlier chances, once when facing an open goal following a Morgan mistake and the second when the full-forward hit the post with a penalty.

Those two incidents were the highlights of a scrappy first half that ebbed and flowed without ever really sparking into life but Monaghan had just the better of it to take a one point lead into the break, 0-8 to 0-7, thanks to four frees from All-Star Conor McManus.

McManus was a very late inclusion for Monaghan and was perfect with place balls on the day despite operating at about 70% fitness. Indeed, it was his sixth free of the day – a beautiful curling effort that crept inside Tyrone’s right upright –  that proved to be the winning score.

Tyrone had their chances though and, with more frees than football in the closing stages, worked their way back within a score of taking the game to a replay. However, just as he had missed his opening free kick of the game, Morgan missed his last.


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After the final whistle, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte confronted the referee – presumably about the fact there were only two minutes of additional time played at the end – along with a number of his backroom team.

His side will now host Louth on June 28 in the qualifiers.

Scorers for Monaghan: Conor McManus 0-6 (0-6f), Dermot Malone 1-0, Rory Beggan 0-2 (0-1f, 0-145), Kieran Hughes and Fintan Kelly 0-2 each.
Scorers for Tyrone: Darren McCurry 0-4 (0-2f), Mattie Donnelly 0-3, Conor McAliskey and Sean Cavanagh 0-2 each, Niall Morgan 0-2 (0-1f, 0-145) Ciaran McGinley 0-1.

1. Rory Beggan – Scotstown
2. Colin Walshe – Doohamlet
3. Drew Wylie – Ballybay
4. Fintan Kelly – Clones
5. Dessie Mone – Clontibret
6. Vinny Corey – Clontibret
7. Kieran Duffy – Latton
8. Dick Clerkin – Currin
9. Darren Hughes – Scotstown
18. Ryan Wylie – Ballybay
25. Chris McGuinness – Ballybay
12. Paudie McKenna – Truagh Gaels
13. Dermot Malone – Castleblayney
14. Kieran Hughes – Scotstown
26. Conor McManus – Clontibret

1. Niall Morgan – Edendork
2. Aidan McCrory – Errigal Ciarán
3. Justin McMahon – Omagh
4. Ronan McNamee – Aghayarn
5. Ronan McNabb – Dromore
6. Mattie Donnelly – Trillick
7. Peter Harte – Errigal Ciarán
8. Colm Cavanagh – Moy
9. Conan Grugan – Omagh
10. Martin Penrose – Carrickmore
11. Sean Cavanagh – Moy
12. Ciaran McGinley – Errigal Ciarán
13. Darren McCurry – Edendork
14. Stephen O’Neill – Clann na nGael
15. Ronan O’Neill – Omagh

Subs to follow…

Referee: Eddie Kinsella (Laois).

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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