Monaghan bench proves pivotal as they edge neighbours Cavan in tough encounter
Monaghan 0-16 Cavan 0-15
Monaghan's bench provided them with the impetus to win a tight Ulster Championship battle against Cavan at Kingspan Breffni Park.
The 2013 Ulster champions were in real trouble midway through the second half when they trailed by 0-13 to 0-9.
But the impact of substitutes Stephen Gollogly, Dick Clerkin and Colin Walshe, who was returning from injury after an eight month absence, allied to the craft and experience they have built up over the last three years under the management of Malachy O'Rourke, was vital as they edged home.
Walshe kicked the insurance point courtesy of Clerkin's pass while Clerkin and Gollogly were also involved in the build-up as Conor McManus grabbed the previous score, his seventh of the afternoon.
It was the mark of McManus that he was able to swing over that point having been peripheral through other parts of the game as Cavan double-marked him with Feargal Flanagan assisted by Jason McLoughlin or Rory Dunne at all times.
For long spells Monaghan were out-thought and outfought by an enterprising Cavan team.
Michael Argue's posting to full-forward got some early return, as he used his 6'5" to win an early free for Cian Mackey and fist a point himself for a 0-2 to 0-1 lead.
Cavan led by 0-4 to 0-1 and that allowed them to dictate terms.
Monaghan's play was uncharacteristically laced with unforced errors, none more so than the misplaced pass that led to Gearoid McKiernan's point before half-time that gave the home side a 0-9 to 0-7 interval lead.
McKiernan kicked their first score of the second half too after Karl O'Connell's point for Monaghan off the throw in and when they went four points clear there was a sense around the ground that this was their day.
But Monaghan dug in and after a McManus point from a free there were a trio of inspiring scores from Clerkin, Darren Hughes and Dessie Mone.
Mone may also have had a penalty during that spell.
A Kieran Hughes free edged Monaghan back in front on 60 minutes before McManus put two in it.
Martin Dunne, who was left off the starting team, closed the gap again with a trademark point before Walshe's provided further security.
Scorers - Monaghan: C McManus 0-7 (5fs), P Finlay 0-3 (3fs), D Mone, K O'Connell, D Clerkin, C Walshe, K Hughes (f), D Hughes all 0-1 each.
Cavan: N McDermott 0-4 (4fs), G McKiernan, M Dunne (f), M Argue, C Mackey (1f) all 0-2 each, R Flanagan, C Brady, R Galligan all 0-1 each.
Monaghan: R Beggan; D Mone, D Wylie, R Wylie; F Kelly, V Corey, K O'Connell; N McAdam, D Hughes; R McAnespie, D Malone, S Carey; P Finlay, K Huges, C McManus. Subs: S Gollogly for Malone BC (40), C Walshe for Carey (43), D Clerkin for Finlay (50), C McGuinness for McAnespie (53).
Cavan: R Galligan; F Flanagan, R Dunne, J McLoughlin; D McVeety, J McEnroe, D O'Reilly; G McKiernan, T Corr; C Mackey, N Murray, M Reilly; N McDermott, M Argue, R Flanagan. Subs: C Brady for McEnroe (37), M Dunne for O'Reilly (53), M Lyng for Reilly (58), T Hayes for Mackey (64).
Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh)