Mone scare for Monaghan as Kielt fires Derry into final
Derry 2-12 Monaghan1-13
The suspected broken wrist sustained by Dessie Mone was more worrying for Monaghan than this semi-final defeat to Derry, who advanced to the final against Tyrone for the second year in a row.
Mone was forced off after 10 minutes in the Athletic Grounds amid fears he suffered a recurrence of the same injury he picked up last year.
A goal of immense quality from James Kielt in the last minute of normal time proved to be the difference at the end of a much-improved second half.
The goal was good enough to win any match, a superb left-footed shot across the keeper which flew into the net, just when it looked like extra-time was a certainty.
"The effort the boys put in was awesome," said Oak Leaf manager Damian Barton. "Even if we had lost, the effort was incredible.
"They were magnificent after Monaghan went in front - we drove at them with boys supporting, and James' goal was a great goal.
"You can't beat these matches for bringing a team on. There are more positives than anything else. You don't go out to go through the motions.
"The fact we have won the matches we have this season is indicative of the effort and we've acquitted ourselves well."
Derry had the best of the opening half but Monaghan, who made three half-time changes, were much improved after the break.
The impressive Conor McCarthy nailed a goal in the 51st minute to put them ahead for the first time and it was anybody's game after that.
Goals from Emmett McGuckin and Kielt in the last quarter sealed it for Derry, who lost promising midfielder Aidan McLaughlin with a dislocated shoulder.
However the possible loss of Mone for the Division 1 campaign would be a huge blow for Monaghan.
"It didn't look good there when he went off," admitted manager Malachy O'Rourke. "Dessie broke a bone in his wrist ealier in the year and we'd nursed him back into full-contact training.
"He played a wee while the other night (against St Mary's) and we wanted to get him in.
"It would be an awful setback on a personal level and for us if the bone was broken again, but hopefully it's not."
Conditions were perfect yet the teams served up a pedestrian opening 35 minutes.
Mis-placed passes and erratic shooting were the hallmarks of a half that yielded more wides than points.
Derry deservedly led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the interval but they also hit seven wides while Monaghan hit six and both dropped a number of balls short into the goalkeepers' hands in an error-strewn half.
Derry, fielding an inexperienced defence which stood up well, scored the opening three points through Kielt (free), Aidan McLoughlin and Enda Lynn inside 12 minutes.
After a number of wasteful Monaghan attacks, Kieran Hughes' trusty left boot finally got the Farney men on the board two minutes later.
Kielt tagged on another free to open up a 0-6 to 0-2 lead for the Oak Leafers, but after a quiet opening by his lofty standards, Conor McManus burst into life with a free and a point just before the break.
Derry lost Conor McAtamney and Benny Heron to black cards, forcing Barton to run his bench a little earlier than anticipated.
O'Rourke shook things up for the second half with Darren Hughes, McCarthy and debutant Mikey Murnaghan all introduced.
A Mark Lynch free had Derry ahead 0-9 to 0-6, but Monaghan hit 1-3 in a seven minute spell, with Fintan Kelly and McCarthy pointing.
Monaghan were better at forcing turnovers and became more aggressive in their tackling, with defenders pouring forward as they started to dictate terms.
Drew Wylie and Kelly were involved in the build-up to McCarthy's goal, the highly-rated forward showing good composure to run through and then neatly drill the ball home.
It looked like Monaghan would kick on having gained the initiative.
However Derry showed good character to respond and McGuckin palmed the ball to the net from Lynch's pass after 58 minutes, before Kielt's thunderbolt put Derry through to Saturday's final with Tyrone at Pairc Esler.
Scorers - Derry: J Kielt 1-3 (0-3fs), E McGuckin 1-0, N Loughlin 0-3 (2fs), E Lynn, R Bell, B Grant, A McLaughlin, N Forrester, M Lynch (f) 0-1 each. Monaghan: C McManus 0-4 (3f), C McCarthy 1-1, O Duffy, F Kelly, B McGinn (1f) 0-2 each, K Hughes, D Wylie 0-1 each.
Derry - B McKinless; N Keenan, C Nevin, R Murphy; N Forrester, O Duffin, M Craig; J Kielt, A McLaughlin; E Lynn, N Loughlin, C McWilliams; E McGuckin, R Bell, B Heron. Subs: M Warnock for McWilliams (18), C McAtamney for McLaughlin (18), M Lynch for McAtamney (BC, 35), B Grant for Heron (BC, 35), C McGroogan for Craig (44), G O'Neill for Bell (66).
Monaghan - C Forde; D Wylie, N McAdam, R Wylie; F Kelly, K Hughes, C Walshe; D Mone, N Kearns; K O'Connell, B McGinn, O Duffy; R McAnespie, D Malone, C McManus. Subs: K Duffy for Mone (10), D Hughes for Kearns (HT), M Murnaghan for McAdam (h-t), C McCarthy for Malone (HT), S Carey for McAnespie (51), T Kerr for McManus (68).
Ref - C Branagan (Down).