All-Ireland SFC: Derry and Monaghan share the spoils
All-Ireland SFC Round Robin Group 4
DERRY 0-14 MONAGHAN 0-14
By Colm Shalvey at Celtic Park
Derry and Monaghan shared the spoils in a tense All-Ireland SFC Group 4 opener at Celtic Park. Monaghan held a narrow lead for long spells, but they looked set to leave empty-handed when Shane McGuigan’s ninth point edged Derry ahead deep into added time, only for Karl O’Connell to step up with an equally superb equaliser. Derry had been comfortable winners when the sides met just under a month ago, en route to retaining their Ulster title, but Monaghan were hugely improved as they claimed a draw.
Derry were first off the mark through Ciarán McFaul and although Gary Mohan and Dessie Ward replied for Monaghan, Shane McGuigan opened his account with a brace (a free and a mark). McGuigan added one from play as well, but Mícheál Bannigan and Conor McCarthy were on target as Monaghan edged ahead for the first time. The teams traded points for the last ten minutes of the half, with McGuigan and Niall Toner scoring for Derry but Shane Carey and McCarthy keeping Monaghan in front by 0-7 to 0-6.
Conor Boyle doubled Monaghan’s lead after the restart and although McGuigan continued to keep Derry in touch, the visitors landed some fine scores via McCarthy, Carey and Rory Beggan. A Bannigan free put three between the teams for the first time in the game, but Lachlan Murray came off the bench for Derry to score with his first touch.
A brilliantly-struck ’45 by Beggan was quickly cancelled out by an excellent point from McGuigan, which started a trademark late charge from Derry. Another McGuigan free made it a one-point game, Ethan Doherty levelled it up on 70 minutes, before McGuigan curled over a huge free from the right wing to put them on the brink of another win. There was still time for another late twist, however, as O’Connell landed a long-range equaliser to give Monaghan a well-earned draw.
Monaghan host Clare next Sunday, while Derry face another Ulster rival in Donegal.
Scorers for Derry: Shane McGuigan 0-9 (6f, 1m); Niall Toner 0-2 (1f); Ciarán McFaul 0-1; Ethan Doherty 0-1; Lachlan Murray 0-1.
Scorers for Monaghan: Conor McCarthy 0-3 (1f); Mícheál Bannigan 0-3 (1f); Rory Beggan 0-2 (1f, 1 ’45); Shane Carey 0-2; Karl O’Connell 0-1; Conor Boyle 0-1; Gary Mohan 0-1; Dessie Ward 0-1.
Derry: Odhrán Lynch; Eoin McEvoy, Chrissy McKaigue, Conor McCluskey; Conor Doherty, Gareth McKinless, Pádraig McGrogan; Conor Glass (Capt.), Brendan Rogers; Ciarán McFaul, Ethan Doherty, Paul Cassidy; Niall Toner, Shane McGuigan, Niall Loughlin.
Subs: Benny Heron for Toner (55); Lachlan Murray for Loughlin (56); Pádraig Cassidy for McGrogan (58).
Monaghan: Rory Beggan; Kieran Duffy (Capt.), Ryan O’Toole, Ryan Wylie; Karl O’Connell, Conor Boyle, Conor McCarthy; Gary Mohan, Killian Lavelle; Ryan McAnespie, Dessie Ward, Shane Carey; Stephen O’Hanlon, Karl Gallagher, Mícheál Bannigan.
Subs: Darren Hughes for Mohan (61); Daragh McElearney for Carey (64); Jack McCarron for Gallagher, Kieran Hughes for Lavelle (both 68); Conor McManus for Ward (73).
Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan).