Dublin scrape past brave Monaghan in pulsating Croke Park battle
Dublin 1-14 Monaghan 0-16
A pulsating battle at Croke Park, a heroic performance by Monaghan skipper Conor McManus, but in the end, victory by the narrowest of margins for Dublin.
A crowd of 17,080 were treated to a battle royale in a highly entertaining Allianz League division one match between two previously unbeaten teams.
Conor McManus scored 12 points of his team's total but ended on the winning side.
"We're very disappointed. We probably should have got something out of the game, but it wasn't to be," said man of the match McManus.
Pre-match favourites Dublin earned that tag for a reason.
The mantle of All-Ireland champions rests easily on their shoulders, and three League titles in the bag leaves no doubt about their overall quality.
In that situation, the onus was on McManus to make an impression and he did that, helping his team to lead by 0-7 to 0-3 after 19 minutes.
From that period Dublin began to motor, and Dean Rock's accuracy from placed balls plus a couple of raids forward by Philly McMahon gave the home side some impetus.
By the 24th minute Dublin were just two points behind only to see Monaghan's Kieran Duffy power over a superb angled point from 30 metres.
That man McManus popped over a score from a 26th minute free.
Worryingly for Monaghan, that was their last score of the half, and they also lost Kieran Hughes to injury on the half hour mark.
He was replaced by Dessie Mone.
Dublin brought on Shane Carthy at midfield in place of Denis Bastick, and were quickly into their stride.
They made two quick raids, one which ended in a Diarmuid Connolly shot going wide and the other yielding a 37th minute score by Rock from a free, leaving the Dubs ahead by 0-11 to 0-9.
Then came the big move forward for Dublin.
In the 40th minute, Paddy Andrews jumped for a high ball in the large parallelogram, Monaghan goalie Rory Beggan jumped with him and the ball broke into space.
As Paul Flynn rushed in to gather it, Dessie Mone clashed with Paul Flynn and conceded a penalty.
Flynn had to go off for treatment and was replaced by blood sub Bernard Brogan. Meanwhile Diarmuid Connolly coolly despatched the ball into the net from the spot kick.
A McManus score from a free for 0-10 to Dublin's 1-11 showed that Monaghan would not lie down, and he added two more by the 49th minute.
Flynn came back on for Dublin but Brogan was only briefly off the pitch before coming on as sub for Tomas Brady after 57 minutes.
Just prior to that Flynn powered over a point to bring his team to 1-12.
With ten minutes to go, McManus again notched a scored from a free and brought his side to 0-14.
Two minutes later he against slipped by. Small, and scored his 11th point and gave his team parity. It was all to play for at that stage and end-to-end excitement.
The tension rose as McManus fired over point number 16 for his team in the 67th minute, but Cormac Costello equalised in the 68th minute.
And with four minutes of added time, there was time for more drama.
Enter Bernard Brogan, and his trusty right boot that smashed over the lead point at 1-14 to 0-16 in the 71st minute.
Jim Gavin's men managed to hold out for the last few frantic minutes to make it three wins out of three outings.
Scorers: Dublin: D Rock 0-7 (6f); D Connolly 1-0 (pen); P McMahon 0-2; C Costello 0-2; E O' Conghaile 0-1; P Flynn 0-1; B Brogan 0-1.
Monaghan: C McManus 0-12 (9f); O Duffy 0-1; D Hughes 0-1; K Hughes 0-1; K Duffy 0-1;
Dublin: S Cluxton; P McMahon, M Fitzsimons, D Byrne; J McCarthy, C O'Sullivan, J Small; D Bastick, E O'Conghaile; P Flynn, D Connolly, T Brady; D Rock, P Andrews, C Costello.
Subs: S Carthy for D Bastick (h.t); B Brogan for P Flynn (blood sub 41, Flynn back on 52 mins); J Cooper for M Fitzsimons (52); B Brogan for T Brady (55); P Ryan for D Rock (58); B Fenton for E O'Conghaile (60); SB Carthy for D Connolly (66)
Monaghan: R Beggan; C Walshe, D Wylie, R Wylie; K Duffy, F Kelly, C O'Connell; N McAdam, D Hughes; S Carey, D Malone, T Kerr; O Duffy, K Hughes, C McManus.
Subs: D Mone for K Hughes (30); C Boyle for R Wylie (h.t); B McAnespie for O Duffy (47); C McCarthy for D Malone (56); D McKenna for S Carey (68);
Referee: P Hughes (Armagh)