Hughes sinks Waterford
Waterford United 1
Monaghan United 3
Waterford United were turned over in the First Division play-off at the RSC as Monaghan booked a place in the promotion/relegation play-off final against Bray.
Waterford went close through John Kearney on 25 minutes, but his header flew just wide. Three minutes later the visitors made their hosts rue that missed chance when Kevin Burns fumbled a Cathal O'Connor corner, allowing Aidan Lynch a free header from six yards out.
His first effort rebounded off the crossbar, but he made no mistake with his second attempt.
Monaghan should have extended their lead moments after the restart. O'Connor reacted best to the breakdown after a corner-kick, his looping shot from the edge of the area striking the crossbar, with Brian Gartland's volleyed rebound being cleared by the defence.
The visitors didn't take much longer to extend their lead, though, as a sweeping move on 58 minutes saw Sean Brennan set Barry Clancy clear down the right and his inch-perfect cross was met at the near post by Philly Hughes.
That goal stunned the home side, but they were back in the game inside seven minutes. Seamus Long sent a back-post header goalwards and Liam Kearney got a flick to nick it home.
For all the Blues' pressure in the closing stages, the game was decided at the other end with six minutes left, Hughes sweeping a free-kick to the top right corner.
Waterford -- K Burns; A Carey, S Long, K Murray, M Coady; T Purcell (P Walsh 70), S Barrett, J Kearney, L Kearney; WJ Kiely, P Murphy
Monaghan -- G Sava, C McMahon, S Grimes, A Lynch (P Whelan 69), B Gartland, D Tierney, C O'Connor, A Byrne, S Brennan, P Hughes, B Clancy
Ref -- P McLaughlin (Donegal).