Plucky Monaghan fall short as Tyrone take the points
Tyrone 0-14 Monaghan 0-10
By Francis Mooney
Thirteen-man Monaghan went down fighting at Healy Park, where a courageous performance fell just short, and their unbeaten record came to an end.
The Farney men battled heroically after having Fintan Kelly and Dermot Malone sent off early in the second half, but they were unable to prevent Tyrone from taking the points.
The ageless Sean Cavanagh came off the bench to guide his side home with three late points, two of them brilliant efforts from play.
Tyrone’s superbly organised defensive system frustrated their opponents throughout the first half, and all the visitors could manage was two Jack McCarron points.
Meanwhile, the Red Hands raided at pace, to stunning effect as they swept over a succession of quality scores from play.
Conor Meyler, Tiernan McCann, Darren McCurry and Frank Burns, making his first league start, were all on target from distance as the home side established control of the tie.
And they were awarded a penalty in the tenth minute for a foul on Mattie Donnelly, but Peter Harte sent his kick just wide.
When McCarron finally opened his side’s account in the 25th minute, it looked as if Monaghan could find some rythmn, but Tyrone immediately got backl on top, with McCann landing his second, and Harte kicking three, two of them from frees, the other a spectacular effort from distance.
Tyrone led by 0-9 to 0-2 at the break, and Monaghan suffered a further blow when defender Fintan Kelly was shown a second yellow card just a minute after the restart, and they were down to 14 men.
Nevertheless, they carved their first real opening through Conor McManus and Conor McCarthy, but Dessie Ward’s shot was superbly saved by Mickey O’Neill, with McManus converting the resultant ’45.
But in the 40th minute, the Farney challenge threatened to fall apart when they were reduced to 13 men, Dermot Malone shown a straight red card by referee Padraig Hughes
But the very opposite was the case. They played like men possessed, displaying incredible resilience and intensity to take the game fearlessly to Tyrone.
Goalkeeper Rory Beggan arrowed over a couple of long range frees, and a fabulous fetch and point from Kieran Hughes, now pushed up to full forward, narrowed the gap to three points.
Sean Cavanagh’s introduction was crucial for a Tyrone side just hanging in there, with the former Footballer of the Year hitting three vital scores, two of them spectacular efforts from play, to steady the ship.
Monaghan continued to fight bac, with points from McManus and McCarron, but the Red Hands held on.
Tyrone: M O’Neill; P Hampsey, R McNamee, C McCarron; T McCann (0-2), J McMahon (0-1), F Burns (0-1); C Cavanagh, D McClure; C Meyler (0-1), K McGeary, K McGeary, P Harte (0-4, 2f); D McCurry (0-2), M Donnelly, R O’Neill.
Subs: S Cavanagh (0-3, 1f) for Donnelly (blood 15-21), C McShane for Burns (45), S Cavanagh for McClure (51), A McCrory for McCarron (59), C McCann for O’Neill (61)
Monaghan: R Beggan (0-2, 2f); F Kelly, D Wylie, R Wylie; K Duffy, N McAdam, R McAnespie; O Coyle, K Hughes (0-2); T Kerr, D Malone, G Doogan; K O’Connell, J McCarron (0-4, 2f), C McManus (0-2, 1f, 1 ’45).
Subs: D Ward for Duffy (h-t), C McCarthy for Kerr (h-t), S Gollogly for Doogan (61), J Mealiff for McAnespie (61)
Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).
****RESULT: Cavan 0-11 Donegal 1-16