Allianz FL D1: Monaghan edge tight contest
Allianz Football League Division 1
MONAGHAN 0-15 TYRONE 0-14
By Colm Shalvey at Castleblayney
Monaghan have three consecutive wins to their name in the Allianz Football League Division 1 as Malachy O’Rourke’s team held on in a tense finish to Saturday’s Ulster derby against Tyrone in Castleblayney.
After Monaghan having been ahead for most of the first half, Tyrone finished strongly to claim a narrow advantage at the interval.
However, a burst of five points between the 58th and 67th minutes proved enough for Monaghan to edge it.
The introduction of Conor McManus proved key for Monaghan in the decisive stage of the game, while the Tyrone attack proved over-reliant on Lee Brennan, who accounted for more than half of their scores.
Monaghan got off to a flying start, with Fintan Kelly kicking a hat-trick of points from play in the first five minutes. A Shane Carey free moved the hosts four clear, but they failed to add to their tally in the following 15 minutes, while Tyrone halved their deficit through Colm Cavanagh and Lee Brennan (free).
A Rory Beggan free ended Monaghan’s scoreless run and Colin Walshe got forward to restore their four-point lead, only for Tyrone to hit five unanswered scores in the last 10 minutes of the first half.
The first of those was a Mattie Donnelly shot at goal that rattled the crossbar and went over, while Lee Brennan converted a brace of frees and Peter Harte and Michael McKernan added their names to the list of scorers for Tyrone, who led by 0-7 to 0-6 at half-time.
Monaghan started the second half on the front foot with pointed frees from Jack McCarron and Rory Beggan, but Brennan hit a trio of placed kicks at the other end to move Tyrone ahead. Conor McManus came off the bench to inspire a resurgence from Monaghan, with a quick brace levelling it up.
Niall Sludden regained the lead for Tyrone, but a McCarron free and a spectacular point from play by McManus started a run of five without reply for Monaghan. Dessie Ward and substitute Owen Duffy added a point apiece, before Beggan booted over a long-range free to move the hosts four clear.
Richard Donnelly got a point back for Tyrone, who saw another brace of frees from Brennan bring them within the minimum once more, but they couldn’t find a late equaliser, which leaves them stuck on two points in the table.
Tyrone have another provincial derby at home to Donegal next Saturday, while Monaghan travel to Galway on Sunday.
Scorers for Monaghan: Fintan Kelly 0-3, Conor McManus 0-3 (2fs), Rory Beggan 0-3 (3fs), Jack McCarron 0-2 (2fs), Shane Carey 0-1 (f), Colin Walshe 0-1, Dessie Ward 0-1, Owen Duffy 0-1.
Scorers for Tyrone: Lee Brennan 0-8 (8fs), Peter Harte 0-1, Michael McKernan 0-1, Mattie Donnelly 0-1, Colm Cavanagh 0-1, Richard Donnelly 0-1, Niall Sludden 0-1.
MONAGHAN: Rory Beggan; Colin Walshe (Capt.), Conor Boyle, Ryan Wylie; Dessie Mone, Drew Wylie, Vincent Corey; Darren Hughes, Niall Kearns; Shane Carey, Fintan Kelly, Dessie Ward; Thomas Kerr, Jack McCarron, Conor McCarthy.
Subs: Karl O’Connell for Mone (43), Kieran Duffy for Walshe (inj., 46), Conor McManus for Kerr (48), Owen Duffy for Carey (53), Kieran Hughes for McCarron (66), Dermot Malone for McCarthy (69).
TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Cathal McCarron, Ronan McNamee, Pádraig Hampsey; Michael McKernan, Mattie Donnelly (Capt.), Peter Harte; Colm Cavanagh, Cónall McCann; Conor Meyler, Niall Sludden, Kieran McGeary; Connor McAliskey, Richard Donnelly, Lee Brennan.
Subs: Hugh Pat McGeary for McCarron (22). Mark Bradley for McAliskey (46), David Mulgrew for McCann (55), Darren McCurry for Mulgrew (black card, 60), Pádraig McNulty for R Donnelly (69).
REFEREE: Conor Lane (Cork).