Saturday 24 February 2018

Monaghan fend off Tyrone fight-back to claim victory

Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh with a shot on goal despite the attempted block of Dick Clerkin of Monaghan
Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh with a shot on goal despite the attempted block of Dick Clerkin of Monaghan
Darren McCurry of Tyrone in action against Darren Hughes and Ryan Wylie in the Ulster Football Senior Championship

Darragh Collins

Monaghan narrowly progressed to an Ulster semi-final after they overcame a spirited Tyrone fight-back in Clones today.

Monaghan 1-12 Tyrone 0-14

Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan’s late free drifted to the right of the posts as the defending champions prevailed by the minimum.

The game began at an electric tempo with both sides throwing themselves into challenges. It was clear to see Monaghan’s game plan from the off.

The direct passing and high tempo play was causing problems for Tyrone early on, with Kieran Hughes and Conor McManus proving to be excellent target men and Tyrone’s full back line struggled to deal with them. Hughes epitomised Monaghan’s forward line by eventually opening the scoring after three attempts.

Malachy O’Rourke seemed to have chosen his man marking astutely, by closing off Sean Cavanagh and Stephen O’Neill.

Tyrone’s quality saw them manage a few scores but Monaghan capitalised on their defensive vulnerabilities and it seemed every time a player in the Monaghan full forward line got the ball they were fouled. McManus made hay from dead-balls, converting a total of six points in the game.

It was only a matter of time, but Tyrone eventually gave away a penalty after some terrible defending by Ronan McNabb. Hughes stepped up and again Monaghan failed to take their chances as he blasted the post.

Monaghan claimed a goal early in the second half that they had been threatening throughout the opening period when a brilliant direct ball from Dick Clerkin eventually found Dermot Malone who buried his chance.

The goal acted as a wakeup call to Tyrone who showed great character to get themselves back in the game, and soon reduced Monahan’s lead to a point. 

Niall Morgan stepped up to take the all-important free, however it was not to be and it’s Monaghan who progress to the semi finals where they will meet Armagh.

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