Monaghan leave it late to claim league and championship double over Kildare

Monaghan 0-15 - 1-10 Kildare

By Paul Keane

Monaghan showed their mettle in the closing minutes at Croke Park by shrugging off Kildare to move within touching distance of the All-Ireland semi-finals.

Malachy O'Rourke's side led by three late in the first-half but saw that advantage cut down to level terms on three occasions in the second-half.

The sides remained tied with 65 minutes played but it was Monaghan who brought all their big-game experience to bear on the occasion by pinching the crucial points to win.

Vinny Corey, Conor McManus and Rory Beggan all split the posts late on to edge out Kildare who have now lost 11 of their last 12 competitive games at Croke Park.

That leaves the Lilies needing to beat Galway in Newbridge next Sunday to ignite their own Super 8s challenge.

As for Monaghan they'll host Kerry in Clones and a win there will surely secure a breakthrough All-Ireland semi-final spot.

The form lines beforehand were similar for both sides who gained redemption through the qualifiers after surprise provincial championship defeats.

Kildare lost out to Carlow in Leinster though pulled off four big wins in the qualifiers over Derry, Longford, Mayo and Fermanagh last weekend.

They got the better start here too with a sixth-minute Daniel Flynn goal putting them 1-1 to 0-2 ahead.

The former Aussie Rules professional showed real determination to hit the net as Keith Cribbin was unmarked on his right but Flynn powered on himself before firing home.

The score should have kick-started Kildare but they only added another two points from open play in the half.

Rather it was Monaghan who grabbed the impetus and finished the half with 10 points to their credit.

Karl O'Connell booted over two of those having curled over two beauties against Laois in Navan.

McManus helped himself to three points also as Monaghan sought to repeat their qualifier win of 2014 over the Lilies.

Monaghan led 0-10 to 1-5 at the break, though they had goalkeeper Beggan to thank for a fine save to deny Flynn a second goal in the 16th minute.

The quality dipped in the second-half as both sides chased a crucial win in the new three-game format.

Kildare edged the third quarter and made it a level game on three occasions but simply couldn't push on for a rare win at GAA headquarters.

Monaghan scorers: C McManus 0-4 (0-1f), K O'Connell 0-3, C McCarthy 0-2, R Beggan 0-2 (0-1 45, 0-1f), S Carey 0-1, N Kearns 0-1, K Duffy 0-1, V Corey 0-1.

Kildare scorers: N Flynn 0-4 (0-2f), D Flynn 1-1, K Feely 0-1 (0-1f), T Moolick 0-1, F Conway 0-1, J Byrne 0-1, E Callaghan 0-1.

Monaghan: R Beggan; R Wylie, D Wylie, K Duffy; F Kelly, V Corey, D Mone; N Kearns, D Hughes; R McAnespie, S Carey, K O'Connell; C McCarthy, C McManus, O Duffy.

Subs: P McKenna for Duffy, black card (17), J McCarron for Kelly (48), K Hughes for McKenna (60), D Malone for Carey (66).

Kildare: M Donnellan; M O'Grady, D Hyland, P Kelly; J Byrne, E Doyle, K Flynn; K Feely, T Moolick; F Conway, P Cribbin, K Cribbin; P Brophy, D Flynn, N Flynn.

Subs: N Kelly for P Cribbin (46), C Healy for Brophy (50), D Slattery for K Cribbin (58), E Callaghan for Moolick (69), C McNally for N Flynn (71).

Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).

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