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Monaghan move closer to top flight

MONAGHAN United are just 90 minutes away from gaining promotion to the Airtricity League Premier Division after a 2-0 first leg promotion/relegation play-off victory over Galway United.

Galway battled hard but ultimately appeared like a team that has been battered all season and look hopelessly short on confidence and ideas.

Goals from Michael Isichei and Sean Brennan in either half were enough to put Roddy Collins' men in the driving seat and leave the Tribesmen with a mountain to climb in Friday's return leg at Terryland Park.

The opening goal of the game came on 13 minutes, following great work from Jordan Keegan down the right wing, his low cross found Isichei at the far post and his finish was ruthless.

Monaghan's greater organisation was telling and they controlled the game for the most part with Galway restricted to long-range efforts.

Conor Winn was in inspired form between the sticks for Galway, who looked as though they had weathered the storm, but in the 80th minute Galway's Sean Gavin and Monaghan's Eric Foley received their marching orders and The Tribesmen lost all shape.

Brennan took advantage and stole in to score from a tight angle on 87 minutes which could prove crucial.

It's not over yet but Galway's task is looking increasingly like "mission impossible".