Monaghan 1-15 Dublin 1-15
DUBLIN staged an extraordinary comeback to draw with Monaghan in Croke Park.
A point from Davy Byrne in the 80th minute meant Dessie Farrell avoided a first defeat of his reign as manager, despite the fact that they trailed by ten points at one stage in the game.
Down by nine in the 60th minute, Dublin outscored Monaghan by 1-7 to 0-1 over the final, dramatic stages.
That late, compelling Dublin surge was at complete odds with their display in the early parts of the game.
Farrell gave a League debut to Dara Mullin and sprung fellow Kilmacud Crokes players, Liam Flatman and Dan O’Brien, before throw-in but there was enough experience in the Dublin side to expect a much higher level of performance.
The first half was a horror show for Dublin.
In it, they scored just three points, two from play.
They allowed Monaghan 18 scoring chances, from which they tallied 1-9.
At the end of it, Monaghan led by nine points and but for a save from Evan Comerford with his legs on Ryan McAnespie, it would have been 12.
Monaghan got off to a perfect start when McAnespie picked Conor McManus out from 60 yards inside the first minute.
The pass still required Mick Fitzsimons to misjudge its flight before it found the intended recipient, but once it landed on McManus’s chest, the rest was inevitable.
Monaghan played some crisp football in that first half, finding inside men with kick passes but Dublin’s inability to defend their own ‘D’ was remarkable.
They also lost Paddy Andrews to injury after just 14 minutes, with the veteran St. Brigid’s player walking disconsolately down the tunnel after pulling up.
Dessie Farrell’s immediate response was to bring on Paul Mannion – named for a third time in Dublin’s starting team and for a third time, pulled from the side.
With Monaghan reduced to 14 men for the first ten minutes of the second half after Darren Hughes’s black card, Dublin put an immediate squeeze on and kicked the first three points of the second half.
But Seamus McEnaney’s team kept a tight shape at the back and counter-attacked effectively, winning enough frees to keep their lead comfortable.
One of which was dispatched by Rory Beggan from the ’65 yard line at a line angle into the wind and cleared the crossbar with a bit to spare.
James McCarthy was the catalyst for Dublin’s comeback, driving incessantly at the heart of the Monaghan defence.
They also got plenty off their bench.
Seán Bugler scored three points after his introduction and when a high speculative ball dropped in the Monaghan danger zone, he flicked it on to McManamon, who finished from close range.
Bugler’s third point brought it back to within one but when Monaghan broke and won a ’45, it seemed as though Dublin’s effort would fall narrowly short.
Beggan missed the kick and from the restart, Dublin worked a scoring opportunity through Colm Basquel and Byrne came off his shoulder to square it.
SCORERS – Dublin: D Rock 0-6 (4f), S Bugler 0-3, K McManamon 1-0, D Byrne, J McCarthy, C Kilkenny, N Scully, D O’Brien, C Basquel 0-1 each.
Monaghan: C McManus 1-4 (0-2, 1m), R Beggan (2f, 1 ’45) 0-3, R McAnespie (1m), M Bannigan, each, C Boyle, N Kearns, C McCarthy, D Ward 0-1 each.
Dublin: E Comerford; M Fitzsimons, D Byrne, L Flatman; J McCarthy, J Small, E Murchan; B Fenton, B Howard; N Scully, C Kilkenny, D O’Brien; D Mullin, P Andrews, D Rock. Subs: A Byrne for Andrews (14 inj), P Mannion for Mullin (h-t), S Bugler for Flatman (41), C Basquel for O’Brien (52), K McManamon for A Byrne (59)
Monaghan: R Beggan; D Wylie, C Boyle, K Duffy; K O’Connell, R Wylie, R McAnespie; D Hughes, N Kearns; D Ward, M Bannigan, C McCarthy; D Malone, K Hughes, C McManus. Subs: A Mulligan for Bannigan (49), S Carey for K Hughes (60), C McGuinness for McCarthy (65), P Keegan for Ward (73), K Hughes for Kearns (73)