Conor McCarthy’s late goal proved crucial as Monaghan beat Fermanagh by 1-10 to 1-6 in a poor derby encounter at Clones.
Victory propels last year’s All-Ireland semi-finalists into tomorrow morning’s second-round back-door draw, while it’s season over for Fermanagh, who finished the game with twelve men,
Malachy O’Rourke’s men reeled off the last five points of the first half to take a narrow 0-6 to 1-2 advantage into the interval. Ryan Lyons had given the Ernemen a dream opening when he netted in the fifth minute and followed up with a pointed free, Daniel Teague then cancelling out Niall Kearns’ effort as the visitors led by 1-2 to 0-1 after 17 minutes.
Ryan McAnespie, Kieran Hughes (2), Rory Beggan and Vinny Corey all posted Monaghan points before the break before Conor McManus (free) and Kieran Duffy slotted scores at the start of the second half, making it seven unanswered points for the victors.
McManus cancelled out Declan McCusker’s point and the momentum seemed to shift in favour of the hosts at the three-quarters stage when Beggan saved Sean Quigley’s penalty before Lee Cullen was shown a straight red card. But Quigley chipped over the resulting ‘45’ to reduce the arrears to the minimum and a nervy denouement was ensured when Farney talisman McManus was black-carded.
The 14 men got the next point, courtesy of Conall Jones’ fist, leaving one between the teams with seven minutes remaining. Substitute Jack McCarron doubled the difference from a 30th-minute free. Ciaran Corrigan pointed two minutes from the end and a pressure Quigley free from a tight angle on the wrong side drifted wide in the third of five added minutes as Fermanagh strained to get level.
A dreadful restart in the 74th minute handed Monaghan victory, however, as Hughes latched onto the ball as the defender hesitated, then picked out Conor McCarthy, who palmed the ball to the net for the clinching score.
Fermanagh lost their cool and finished the game with twelve men as James McMahon and Paul McCusker were both sent off right at the end as Erne tempers completely boiled over.
Monaghan - R Beggan (0-1f); K Duffy (0-1), V Corey (0-1), R Wylie; K O’Connell, C Boyle, D Ward; N Kearns, K Hughes (0-2); R McAnespie (0-1), D Malone, S Carey; C McCarthy (1-1), F Kelly, C McManus (0-2, 1f). Subs: J McCarron (0-1f) for S Carey, D Mone for D Ward, D Wylie for V Corey, S O’Hanlon for C McManus (BC), M Bannigan for D Malone.
Fermanagh - J McGrath; J Cassidy, C Cullen, L Cullen; U Kelm, J McMahon, K Connor; A Breen, R Jones; D Teague (0-1), R Lyons (1-1, 0-1f), C Corrigan (0-1); D McCusker (0-1), C Jones (0-1), B Mulrone. Subs: S Quigley (0-1f) for D Teague, K McDonnell for B Mulrone, P McCusker for A Breen, D McGurn for K Connor, S McGullion for K McDonnell, C McBrien for R Lyons.
Referee - M Deegan.Tweet