Dublin hold on to keep league defence on track
Dublin 0-17 Monaghan 0-16
Reigning title-holders Dublin are still on course to retain the Allianz League honours after a hard-won victory over gallant Monaghan in the semi-final at Croke Park.
Jim Gavin's team started without Bernard Brogan, with Kevin McManamon starting in left corner forward.
Monaghan opened the scoring in the first minute with a free by Paul Finlay after Conor McManus was hauled down.
The Dubs carved up the Monaghan defence to give Diarmuid Connolly a chance at goal, but goalie Rory Beggan blocked Connolly's second minute attempt.
Philly McMahon clipped over Dublin's first score in the fourth minute and it was game on.
Monaghan were determined not to be over run after last week-end's drubbing in Clones and retreated in numbers when danger threatened.
In those circumstances, efficiency with the limited number of scoring opportunities on offer was paramount.
Paul Flynn got Dublin's second score after eight minutes, but superb long range points by Conor McManus and Kieran Hughes put the Ulster team ahead by 0-3 to 0-2 after 15 minutes.
Within ten minutes there was still a point between the sides, but this time it was in Dublin's favour at 0-7 to 0-6.
Two from placed balls by Dean Rock, plus a brilliant shot from McMahon, a fisted score by Denis Bastick and a McManamon point did the business for the Dubs.
Against that, Conor McManus (two, one a free) and a powerful, accurate drive by Neil McAdam kept Monaghan in touch.
They were working hard, but had to survive a few close shaves around their own goal.
Rock added to Dublin's tally with a 32nd minute point from a free.
A minute later Monaghan keeper Rory Beggan 'did a Cluxton' by arcing over an impressive point from 63 metres after Owen Duffy was fouled by Dublin's Brian Fenton.
Fenton made amends shortly before half time with a score at the other end.
At half time, Dublin led by 0-9 to 0-7.
That was a big improvement for the Farney men who were seven behind at the same stage last Sunday.
Monaghan brought on veteran Dick Clerkin at midfield, replacing Thomas Kerr.
Clerkin's first act was a foul on Denis Bastick, which gave Rock a chance to extend Dublin's lead to 0-10.
But Clerkin was on the mark to score in the 38th minute following a great catch by Kieran Hughes from a Cluxton kickout.
And Hughes powered over a skyscraper of a shot from 40 metres a minute later, to narrow the gap to one, only to see Rock make it 0-11 to 0-9 in Dublin's favour from a 40th minute free.
Both managers began to make substitutions. Malachy O'Rourke sent on Dermot Malone and Stephen Gollogly and Jim Gavin sprung Michael Darragh Macauley and later, Paddy Andrews.
Andrews was a 50th minute replacement for Kevin McManamon who had judged the angle perfectly to move Dublin to 0-13 after 48 minutes.
In the meantime, Conor McManus was having a fine match, and three points in quick succession by him left Monaghan just a point behind at 0-12.
A huge roar went up in the 53rd minute when Dick Clerkin equalised for Monaghan, setting up a dramatic last quarter.
And worse was to come for the Dubs when Jonny Cooper hauled down McManus, giving the ace forward an easy opportunity to put Monaghan ahead at 0-14 to 0-13 in the 56th minute.
Another free gave the Farney keeper Beggan a call upfield to have a go from 45 metres at a tight angle close to the touchline, but his shot went wide.
Dean Rock scored an equaliser from a free in the 61st minute to give the 8/1 pre match favourites another launch pad for a series of raids.
Sub Cormac Costello drew a foul 30 metres from goal, and again, Rock stepped up to stick the ball between the posts with seven minutes to go.
Another sub, Emmet O'Conghaile quickly added a point as Dublin piled on the pressure.
Jack McCaffrey surged forward in the 66th minute to make it 0-17 to 0-14 for the metropolitans.
But a spirited closing effort led to points by Dick Clerkin and McManus from a free.
Two minutes were added on by referee Rory Hickey, and in a heart-stopping finish, Dublin just held out for the win.
Dublin: S Cluxton; J Cooper, D Byrne (N Olaf's), P McMahon (0-2), J McCarthy, J Small, J McCaffrey (0-1), D Bastick (0-1), C O'Sullivan; P Flynn (0-1), D Connolly, B Fenton (0-2), C Kilkenny, D Rock (0-7, 6f, 145), K McManamon (0-2)
Subs: MD Macauley for C O'Sullivan (44); P Andrews for K McManamon (50); D Daly for D Byrne (52); E O'Conghaile (0-1) for D Bastick (52); C Costello for B Fenton (60); T Brady for P Flynn (68)
Monaghan: R Beggan (0-1, 1f), K Duffy, T Kerr, R Wylie; F Kelly, V Corey, K O'Connell; N McAdam (0-1), D Hughes; D Mone, P Finlay (0-1, 1f), O Duffy; R McAnespie, K Hughes (0-2), C McManus (0-8,3f)
Subs: D Clerkin (0-3) for T Kerr (h.t); D Malone for O Duffy (40); S Gollogly for R McAnespie (42); P McKenna for P Finlay (63); D McKenna for K O'Connell (68);
Ref: R Hickey (Clare)