Clinical McManus keeps five-star Farney flying high
Monaghan 5-13 Wicklow 3-10
MONAGHAN took another step closer to promotion from Division 3 with this rousing victory in Clones.
The result leaves Wicklow in deep relegation trouble – they prop up the table after registering two draws and three losses.
Wicklow got off to the better start and had the hosts in all sorts of trouble as they raced into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead after just 13 minutes. Former Mayo player Austin O'Malley's goal was the opening score.
Monaghan gradually recovered, however, and by the 19th minute they had drawn level with an unanswered 1-2 inside three minutes, Conor McManus chipping in with a great solo goal.
A second goal by Paul Finlay in the 26th minute gave the Farney a three-point lead and that margin separated them at the break, Monaghan ahead by 2-6 to 1-6.
Malachy O'Rourke's charges got off to a flying start to the second half and had extended their lead to nine points within 10 minutes. They outscored their opponents by 1-4 to 0-1 in that period, the goal coming from McManus in the 43th minute.
The Clontibret clubman finished with 2-7, with just three points of that tally coming from frees.
Monaghan led by 13 points entering the final quarter, with a fourth goal by Colin Walshe leaving them coasting.
However, a lapse in concentration saw Wicklow come back to hit 2-2 to narrow the margin to six points with five minutes left.
But the Ulster side managed to close the game out, scoring a fifth goal through Dermot Malone.
Man of the match: C McManus (Monaghan)
SCORERS – Monaghan: C McManus 2-7 (0-2f, 0-1 '45'), P Finlay 1-1 (0-1f), C Walshe, D Malone 1-0 each, K Hughes 0-2, D Hughes, N McAdam, T Freeman 0-1 each. Wicklow: A O'Malley 2-1, S Furlong 1-3 (0-3f), C McGraynor 0-2f, D Hayden, B McCrea, J Stafford, JP Dalton 0-1 each.
MONAGHAN – M Keogh 5; D Mone 8, F Kelly 6, K Duffy 6; C Walshe 7, D Hughes 7, C Galligan 4; O Lennon 6, N McAdam 6; G Doogan 6, K Hughes 7, O Duffy 4; C McManus 8, P Finlay 7, T Freeman 7. Subs: D Wylie 6 for Galligan (25), V Corey 5 for Kelly (45), S Gollogly 5 for Doogan (52), D Clerkin 5 for Lennon (63), P Donaghy 5 for Finlay (70).
WICKLOW – J Flynn; C Hyland 5, L Benson 4, A Byrne 4; D Hayden 5, C McGraynor 5, D Healy 5; J Stafford 6, A McLoughlin 7; R Finn 6, P McWalter 6, N Mernagh 5; B McCrea 5, JP Dalton 6, A O'Malley 7. Subs: S Furlong 7 for McCrea (h-t), P Dalton 6 for Benson (47), P McLoughlin 5 for Mernagh (47), J McGrath 5 for McGraynor (50), K Murphy 5 for McWalter (58).
REF – F Kelly (Longford)