Wednesday 27 September 2017

Duffy puts his foot on gas as Monaghan sink Fermanagh

Monaghan 1-20 Fermanagh 1-11

Monaghan’s Conor McManus scoring a second-half point. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Monaghan’s Conor McManus scoring a second-half point. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Orla Bannon

So who still thinks Monaghan are a one-man band?

Conor McManus did top the bill with 1-3 but he has a proper support cast now and having 13 different scorers in Saturday night's win over Fermanagh is an encouraging start to their championship campaign.

They attacked from everywhere - Colin Walshe kicked two nice first-half points when the game was in the balance, while Conor McCarthy and Jack McCarron picked off points of memorable quality.

Owen Duffy came off the bench and his three-point scoring burst in eight minutes at a crucial stage in the second half took the game away from Fermanagh.

"Owen came in and really made a mark," said Malachy O'Rourke.

"He was probably unlucky not to start but that's what you want from your subs, to make an impact, and he certainly did that," the Monaghan boss added

A dejected Ryan McCluskey of Fermanagh. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
A dejected Ryan McCluskey of Fermanagh. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Fermanagh fans feared the worst but their team battled and were right in the game for 50 minutes.

Monaghan kicked 10 points in a row in a 17-minute spell as the second half fizzled out after a lively opening period.

TV replays appeared to exonerate McManus from stamping on Ryan McCluskey but Fermanagh boss Pete McGrath had no issue, describing it as "an irrelevance" adding, "McManus is not the kind of guy who would intentionally walk on someone."

The sides were level six times in the first half before Monaghan went in 1-8 to 1-6 ahead.

Monaghan's Drew Wylie. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Monaghan's Drew Wylie. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Erne goalkeeper Thomas Treacy diced with danger once too often with his short kickouts before landing one straight to Jack McCarron who teed McManus up for a gift of a goal after 14 minutes.

Fermanagh could have folded then, but they did anything but.

Ryan Lyons' smart finish to the far corner gave them an equalising goal after 22 minutes.

Gradually though, Monaghan's firepower and class up front shone through. McCarthy was denied a second Monaghan goal by a great save from Treacy but they piled on the scores as Fermanagh's brave resistance faded.

McGrath said: "Once they opened up the four or five point gap, everything was going their way and we simply couldn't repel that. That's what makes them the formidable team they are.

"We knew the scale of the challenge coming here but I see more positives than negatives."

Monaghan next play Cavan in a the Ulster quarter-final at Kingspan Breffni Park on June 11.

"We have three weeks to prepare and we know we have to improve," said O'Rourke.

"We gave Fermanagh too much space, they were able to come up the field very easy. We were able to capitalise inside when we pushed up, but at times we weren't clinical enough," he added.

Scorers - Monaghan: C McManus 1-3 (1f), O Duffy 0-3 (1f), C Walshe, C McCarthy , J McCarron 0-2 (1f) each, K Hughes, K O'Connell, S Carey, N McAdam, D Malone, F Kelly, G Doogan, D Mone 0-1 each; Fermanagh : T Corrigan 0-5 (4f), R Lyons 1-0, S Quigley 0-2 (1f), A Breen 0-2 (1f), L Cullen, E Courtney 0-1 each.

Monaghan - R Beggan 7; F Kelly 7, D Wylie 9, R Wylie 7; C Walshe 8, V Corey 7, K O'Connell 7; K Hughes 6, N McAdam 7; G Doogan 6, S Carey 6, D Ward 6; C McCarthy 8, J McCarron 8, C McManus 8 Subs: R McAnespie 6 for Hughes (BC, 9), O Duffy 8 for S Carey (42), D Malone 7 for Ward (49), K Duffy 6 for Corey (58), D Mone 6 for Kelly (63), M Bannigan NR for McCarthy (68).

Fermanagh - T Treacy 7; M Jones 7, C Cullen 6, C McManus 6; A Breen 7, R McCluskey 7, C Murphy 6; E Donnelly 7, L Cullen 7; B Mulrone 7, R Lyons 7, P McCusker 7; K Connor 6, S Quigley 6, T Corrigan 8 Subs: R Jones 6 for Connor (49), E Courtney 6 for Quigley (49), C Beacom 6 for Lyons (58), D Keenan 6 for McCusker (58).

Ref -Derek O'Mahony (Tipperary).

Irish Independent

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