All Ireland SFC R1: Monaghan defeat Fermanagh
All-Ireland SFC Round 1 Qualifier
MONAGHAN 1-10 FERMANAGH 1-6
By Declan Bogue at St Tiernach's Park
Malachy O'Rourke's Monaghan are in the hat for round two of the qualifiers, but it was a desperate close run thing in Clones where it appeared they gave Fermanagh every opportunity to beat them.
Down to 14 men on 56 mins with the dismissal of Lee Cullen, Fermanagh had just spurned the chance to go level with a penalty struck by Sean Quigley. Monaghan goalkeeper Rory Beggan dived full length to push the ball around his post.
They still let Fermanagh get close and only for poor finishing, they might have levelled, Quigley again missing a scoreable free deep into injury time.
There was a sense that if Fermanagh could recreate the conditions they subjected Donegal to a fortnight ago they might cause considerable discomfort to Monaghan.
And they got off to a great start, Ryan Lyons drifting inside the cover and receiving a pass from Declan McCusker to pot his shot past Rory Beggan.
Further points from a Lyons free and Daniel Teague from play, along with forcing Monaghan into wides and speculative shots that dropped short left them in command.
Monaghan simply ripped the page from Donegal's playbook and began nailing scores from distance and tricky angles. First Niall Kearns, then Ryan McAnespie before a superb solo effort from Kieran Hughes gave them hope.
A huge free from Beggan was followed by another Hughes spectacular to level. Veteran Vinny Corey ventured up front to split the posts and Monaghan went in at the break 0-6 to 1-2 up.
With captain Eoin Donnelly absent, Fermanagh were swamped on their own restarts. James McGrath was forced into going long regularly, but possession was gobbled up by Monaghan who really turned the screw.
On the line, Fermanagh manager Rory Gallagher turned to Sean Quigley late in the first half to try to find a point of reference for his attack, but they spurned a goal chance when Ultan Kelm burned through on goal, avoiding Ryan Wylie's tackle but his shot went across the face of the Monaghan goal and away to safety.
With Kelm punching holes down Monaghan's right wing Fermanagh chipped away at the lead but three wides and three shots dropped short was to be their undoing.
Monaghan sealed it at the end when James McGrath's short kickout to Declan McCusker was intercepted by Kieran Hughes who ran in and squared for Conor McCarthy to palm home deep into time added on.
Scorers for Monaghan: C McCarthy 1-0, K Hughes 0-2, C McManus 0-2, 1f, K Duffy, V Corey, R McAnespie, R Beggan (f) and J McCarron (f) 0-1 each
Scorers for Fermanagh: R Lyons 1-1 (1f), D Teague, C Corrigan, D McCusker, C Jones 0-1 each, S Quigley 0-1 (45).
MONAGHAN: R Beggan; K Duffy, V Corey, R Wylie; K O'Connell, C Boyle, D Ward; F Kelly, K Hughes; R McAnespie, D Malone, S Carey; C McCarthy, N Kearns, C McManus.
Subs: J McCarron for Carey (47 mins), D Mone for Ward (52 mins), D Wylie for Corey (58 mins), S O'Hanlon for McManus - Black card - 62 mins), M Bannigan for Malone (66 mins).
FERMANAGH: J McGrath; J Cassidy, C Cullen, L Cullen; U Kelm, J McMahon, K Connor; B Mulrone, R Jones; D Teague, A Breen, C Corrigan; D McCusker, C Jones, R Lyons.
Subs: S Quigley for Teague (35 mins), K McDonnell for Mulrone (43 mins), P McCusker for Breen (62 mins), D McGurn for Connor (67 mins), S McGullion for McDonnell (69 mins), C McBrien for Lyons (63 mins)
REFEREE: Maurice Deegan (Laois).