Darren Hughes, Monaghan, and Killian Clarke, Cavan, in Allianz Football League action at St Tiernach's Park.
Darren Hughes, Monaghan, and Killian Clarke, Cavan, in Allianz Football League action at St Tiernach's Park.

Allianz FL D1: Monaghan earn vital victory

Allianz Football League Division One


By Colm Shalvey at St Tiernach's Park, Clones

Monaghan returned to winning ways in the Allianz Football League when they won this derby against Cavan in Clones. In a typically tense derby, Monaghan produced a much-improved second-half performance to claim a valuable win that boosts their chance of retaining top-flight status.

The introduction of Jack McCarron, Ryan McAnespie and Kieran Duffy helped Monaghan, as did the return from injury of Conor Boyle and Fintan Kelly, while Conor McManus once again top-scored with six points. Gearóid McKiernan kicked 0-3 after making a welcome return for Cavan, who were unable to build on a very early goal from Cian Mackey.

Cavan made a dream start when Killian Clarke broke forward and laid the ball off for Cian Mackey to find the net with barely a minute played. A brace of frees by Conor McManus got Monaghan off the mark, but Niall McKiernan replied from a free to restore Cavan’s two-point lead.

Both sides had goal chances on the ten-minute mark, as Micheál Bannigan was squeezed out at one end, before a Cavan counter-attack ended with Conor Madden being denied by Rory Beggan. The All-Star goalkeeper converted a long-range free moments later, before another McManus free brought Monaghan level for the first time since the visitors’ opening goal.

Both teams missed a string of chances during a lengthy scoreless spell in the second quarter, but the game did spring to life again before half-time, with opposing midfielders Dara McVeety and Darren Hughes exchanging points from play. Madden edged Cavan ahead once again, but a Conor McCarthy free saw Monaghan go in level at 0-6 to 1-3.

Monaghan started the second half in the same manner, with McCarthy moving Monaghan into the lead for the first time. Mackey levelled it up for the fourth time, but the hosts finally put some daylight between the teams via points from sub Jack McCarron and McManus (two).

Beggan then pointed a 50-metre free, before sub Gearóid McKiernan ended a barren spell for Cavan, having taken a fine mark from a Raymond Galligan kick-out. McCarron converted a free at the other end and although Galligan responded in kind, McManus finished a patient Monaghan move with a fine score from distance.

McCarron added a well-taken score to open up a five-point gap and although he was sent off on a second booking moments later, Monaghan had enough of a cushion to get over the line. McKiernan tapped over a couple of added-time frees for Cavan, but a fifth defeat in six games leaves them bottom of the table.

These neighbours will meet again in the Ulster SFC in just over two months’ time.

Scorers for Monaghan: Conor McManus 0-6 (4f); Jack McCarron 0-3 (1f); Conor McCarthy 0-2 (1f); Rory Beggan 0-2f; Darren Hughes 0-1.

Scorers for Cavan: Cian Mackey 1-1; Gearóid McKiernan 0-3 (2f); Raymond Galligan 0-1f; Niall McKiernan 0-1f; Conor Madden 0-1; Dara McVeety 0-1.

MONAGHAN: Rory Beggan; Conor Boyle, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie; Karl O’Connell, Vincent Corey, Colin Walshe (Capt.); Darren Hughes, Gavin Doogan; Fintan Kelly, Dermot Malone, Shane Carey; Conor McCarthy, Micheál Bannigan, Conor McManus. Subs: Ryan McAnespie for Doogan (H-T), Jack McCarron for Bannigan (43), Kieran Duffy for Corey (47), Owen Duffy for Carey (56), Barry Kerr for O’Connell (73).

CAVAN: Raymond Galligan; Jason McLoughlin, Pádraig Faulkner, Conor Rehill; Gerard Smith, Conor Moynagh, Ciarán Brady; Dara McVeety (Capt.), Killian Clarke; Pierce Smith, Martin Reilly, Niall Murray; Cian Mackey, Niall McKiernan, Conor Madden. Subs: Stephen Smith for P Smith (H-T), Gearóid McKiernan for Mackey (49), James Smith for N McKiernan (49), Jack Brady for Murray (62).

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare).