Saturday 24 February 2018

Kelly strikes killer blow as brave Carlow fall short

Monaghan 1-12 Carlow 1-7 - Netwatch Cullen Park

Monaghan goalscorer, Fintan Kelly. Photo: Sportsfile
Monaghan goalscorer, Fintan Kelly. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

Monaghan were forced to dig deep before seeing off the brave Carlow challenge in a cracking All-Ireland qualifier at Netwatch Cullen Park.

Corner-back Fintan Kelly was the hero for a relieved Monaghan side when he found the net four minutes from time to kill off Carlow's wonderful summer.

Owen Duffy of Monaghan in action against Brendan Murphy of Carlow Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Owen Duffy of Monaghan in action against Brendan Murphy of Carlow Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

For long periods it looked like Carlow, hoping to win four championship matches in a season for the first time since 1944, would pull off a major shock. Monaghan opted for wind advantage but they shot eight wides to Carlow's four in the opening half. An early dust-up involving several players from both sides set the tone for a tough encounter where both teams kept a multitude of players behind the ball.

The big home following had plenty to cheer about when Paul Broderick edged them in front with a free into the wind from 35 metres after three minutes. Conor McManus settled Monaghan with a seventh-minute free before Kieran Hughes got the first of two first-half points.

But Carlow were clearly up for the battle with Seán Murphy, Gary Kelly, Eoghan Ruth, Brendan Murphy and Broderick impressing. Another Broderick free tied the game after 19 minutes and when McManus levelled, Murphy responded for Carlow when they broke from deep after Kelly had intercepted. Monaghan hit wide after wide but they led by 0-5 to 0-3 at the interval after another McManus free and second point from Kieran Hughes.

However, his brother Darren Hughes was black-carded just before the break for apparently abusing a linesman. Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke was clearly irate with the decision. He drafted in Dessie Mone as a replacement.

Monaghan's Darren Hughes attempts to escape Sean Gannon of Carlow Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Monaghan's Darren Hughes attempts to escape Sean Gannon of Carlow Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

Carlow should have struck a major blow after another intercept but Seán Gannon blazed wide. Carlow needed a big start to the second half and they got it. Broderick kicked a superb free from 55 metres. And the home support in the crowd of 6,124 sensed a shock when Murphy levelled the match at 0-5 apiece.

Shane Carey responded with a good point for Monaghan but then Carlow hit the front when Gary Kelly blasted to the end after a free from Darragh Foley dropped short and fell kindly for him.

However, Monaghan took over in the last quarter with Conor McCarthy getting his second point before goalkeeper Rory Beggan came forward to point a free to level the match with ten minutes left.

Ryan McAnespie edged the Farney County in front five minutes from time before the key score came when Kelly finished to the net with a fisted effort after good work by Karl O'Connell and Dermot Malone. Broderick reduced the gap but Carlow were unable to snatch an equaliser.

Scorers - Monaghan: K Hughes 0-3, C McManus 0-3 (2f); F Kelly 1-0; C McCarthy 0-2 (1f); R Beggan (f), S Carey, R McAnespie, D Malone 0-1 each. Carlow: P Broderick 0-5 (5f), G Kelly 1-0, B Murphy 0-2.

Monaghan: R Beggan; F Kelly, D Wylie, R Wylie, S Carey, C Walshe (c), K O'Connell; K Hughes, D Hughes; N McAdam, D Malone, G Doogan; O Duffy, J McCarron, C McManus. Subs: D Mone for D Hughes (BC, 35+3), C McCarthy for McCarron (45), R McAnespie for Duffy (53), V Corey for McAdam (58), D Ward for Carey (70), K Duffy for Doogan (70+5).

Carlow: R Molloy; C Lawlor, S Redmond, M Rennick; G Kelly, D St Ledger, D Moran; S Murphy, B Murphy; S Gannon, J Murphy, D Foley (c); P Broderick, C Moran, E Ruth. Subs: S Clarke for Kelly (62), K Nolan for Moran (62).

Referee: C Reilly (Meath)

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