Hard fought Ulster derby ends in a draw

Allianz NFL Division 1

Monaghan 0-7 Cavan 0-7

Monaghan and Cavan played out an entertaining draw in front of 7,983 spectators in a hard fought Ulster derby at St. Mary's Park in Castleblayney.

Scores were at a premium throughout this contest, with a combination of some excellent defending and poor shooting on the part of both sides the order of the day at Castleblayney Faughs

Monaghan were looking for back-to-back wins, having recorded an impressive opening round win away to All-Ireland finalists Mayo last weekend.

Cavan looked impressive at stages in Kingspan Breffni Park, before losing to Dublin last weekend, and were hugely eager to pick up their first league points this afternoon.

The forced subsitutution of Conor Moynagh early on through injury was a huge loss for the visitors but they had the bulk of early possession, and led by 0-2 to 0-0 at the end of the opening quarter thanks to scores from Sean Johnston (free) and Niall Clerkin from play.

A swirling wind in the opening half, made it difficult for both sides to get the ball over the target.

Monaghan waited 24 minutes for their first score, with all three first half points coming from the boot of Conor McManus in an eight-minute spell.

The sides ending the half tied at 0-3 apiece, with Ciarán Brady getting Cavan's third score in the first minute of injury-time.

Cavan's defence was certainly set up well throughout, while for Monaghan brothers Drew and Ryan Wylie, along with Fintan Kelly were solid at the back.

Cavan had seven efforts short into Monaghan keeper Rory Beggan in the opening period, with 14 misses overall in the opening 35 minutes, and Monaghan with seven.

Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke rang the changes at half-time, with both changes coming in the forward lines, with Ryan McAnespie replacing Thomas Kerr and Dermot Malone, who made a strong impact as a half-time sub in the opening round win over Mayo, coming in for Karl O'Connell.

The hosts were once again far the sharper side on the restart, and outscored Cavan by four points to two in the third quarter.

Monaghan continued at pace, with four different scorers during that spell. McManus brought his tally to four points, before Kieran Hughes, Conor McCarthy and defender Fintan Kelly becoming their fourth scorer as the Clones player helped open up a two-point gap in the 48th minute.

Scores were at a premium over the next few minutes, with both teams guilty of misses.

Respective free-takers Johnston and McManus both missed placed ball efforts from close range, with a Conor Madden score cuttting the gap to the minimum on a 0-7 to 0-6 score-line with 16 minutes left on the clock.

Cavan continued to work hard, with the sides level for only the third time, and the first in the half in the 58th minute, when Gearoid McKiernan kicked over a magnificent score to set up a grandstand finish.

A Kieran Hughes effort from a free came off the upright, while a further attack from McManus was halted brilliantly by a well placed Dara McVeety block.

Exchanges got tense in the closing stages with Shane Carey taking McVeety down – and the Monaghan half-forward receiving a black card in the 67th minute.

Scores were at a premium, but with four minutes of injury-time to follow there was still plenty of time to produce a winner.

However, this failed to materalise as defences stood firm, with both teams having chances in stoppage time.

Substitute Owen Duffy fired wide for Monaghan with one minute to play. Cavan pushed hard for a winner, but referee signalled the full-time whistle, as both sides shared the spoils.

Scorers for Monaghan: Conor McManus (3f) 0-4; Kieran Hughes, Conor McCarthy F Kelly 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cavan: S Johnston (3f) 0-3; N Clerkin, C Brady, C Madden, G McKiernan 0-1 each.

MONAGHAN: Rory Beggan; Fintan Kelly, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie; Kieran Duffy, Neil McAdam, Colin Walshe; Darren Hughes, Kieran Hughes; Karl O'Connell, Shane Carey, Gavin Doogan; Conor McCarthy, Thomas Kerr, Conor McManus. Subs: Ryan McAnespie for T Kerr; Dermot Malone for O'Connell; Owen Duffy for Doohan; Barry McGinn for McCarthy; Jack McCarron for Carey (Black).

CAVAN: James Farrelly; Fergal Reilly, Padraig Faulkner, Killian Brady; Martin Reilly, Conor Moynagh, Niall McKieran; Killian Clarke, Tomas Corr; Ciarán Brady, Dara McVeety, Gerard Smith; Niall Clerkin, Gearoid McKiernan, Sean Johnston. Subs: Conor Madden for N McKiernan; Niall McDermott for Moynagh; Stephen Murray for G Smith; Paul O'Connor for C Brady; Rory Dunne for Corr.

REFEREE: David Coldrick (Meath)

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