Sizzling McManus proves too hot for Derry to handle
A rampant Monaghan proved too strong and resilient for a lacklustre Derry in this entertaining basement battle in Scotstown yesterday.
The result means that Monaghan have eased their relegation worries somewhat, at least for the time being anyway, as they picked up the two valuable points on offer with a display of power and passion that Derry were unable to match.
Monaghan effectively had this game wrapped up by the halfway stage when they led by nine points. Conor McManus was simply on fire, especially in the first half, as he led the Derry defence a merry dance and lofted over a series of points from a range of distances and angles.
Tommy Freeman scored the only goal of the game in the 16th minute of the first half and from there to the half-time break Monaghan added a further five points without reply, four from the boot of Conor McManus, to go in leading by 1-10 to 0-4 at half-time.
Derry were unable to register a score for 20 minutes of the opening period. Three minutes into the second half Paddy Bradley ended that barren spell, but only after McManus had put Monaghan 10 points in front within a minute of the restart.
Derry had made a raft of changes from their previous game as manager Damien Cassidy looked to get back to winning ways, but it was only when he began to introduce regulars like Joe Diver, Raymond Wilkinson and James Kielt that they strung anything like their normal game together.
By the halfway stage in the second half, 10 points still separated the sides despite the fact that Derry were now enjoying a greater degree of possession than they had earlier. Their finishing however, was still a problem.
In their best spell of the game they hit three points in quick succession between the ninth and 12th minutes to bring the margin down to nine at that stage, but the game was over as a contest before they reduced it further.
The pace of the game slackened somewhat in the second half and Monaghan did take their foot off the pedal a little as manager Seamus McEnaney introduced a number of substitutes to replace players who will be involved in the Ulster U-21 championship against Antrim on Wednesday night.
With five minutes of normal time remaining, Monaghan still held an 11-point lead, but Derry finished with a late flourish that saw them register four unanswered points to reduce the margin at the final whistle to seven.
In truth though, this game was all over quite some time before that.
Scorers -- Monaghan: C McManus 0-8 (0-4f), T Freeman 1-1, P Finlay 0-3 (0-2f), C Walshe 0-2, D Malone, H McElroy 0-1 each. Derry: Paddy Bradley 0-4 (0-1f), E Bradley (0-1f), M Bateson 0-2 each, M Lynch, E Wilkinson, J Kielt, J Diver 0-1 each.
Monaghan -- S Duffy; D McArdle, D Hughes, C Greenan; C Walshe, N McAdam, D Mone; P Finlay, D Clerkin; K Hughes, S Gollogly, D Malone; C McManus, H McElroy, T Freeman. Subs: JP Mone for D McArdle, R Woods for H McElroy, M McNally for C Walshe, C Hanratty for D Malone, G Doogan for C Greenan.
Derry -- B Gillis; B Og McAlary, K McGuckin, D McBride; C Kielt, B McGoldrick, G O'Kane; Patsy Bradley, F Doherty; B Mullen, M Lynch, SL McGoldrick; Paddy Bradley, E Bradley, A McLaughlin. Subs: R Wilkinson for B Og McAlary, J Kielt for A McLaughlin, M Bateson for B Mullen, J Diver for Patsy Bradley, L Moore for SL McGoldrick.
Ref -- P Hughes (Armagh).