Relegated Monaghan’s confidence ‘at a low ebb’, admits McEneaney

A miserable afternoon for Monaghan at Healy Park ended with the news that Westmeath had beaten Derry to condemn the Farney men to Division Three next season.

Monaghan boss Eamonn McEneaney looked like a man who had accepted his fate before a ball was kicked, such was the enormity of the task he faced against Mickey Harte’s men, and the hopelessness that goes with dependence on results elsewhere.

“All we can do is regroup, get them back into training and to make an impact in the championship,” said McEneaney after watching his defence being ripped apart by Kyle Coney, scorer of eight points. “Obviously we’re very disappointed, we’re at a low ebb in terms of confidence. But the championship will be another day and we have to regroup and come back strongly for that.”

McEneaney will be hoping his walking wounded will be fit to face Antrim in the Ulster Championship opener, an injury crisis having blighted an ill-fated league campaign.

“The loss of so many players has killed us over the past while. Conor McManus and Tommy Freeman in particular have been huge losses. When confidence is low and you don’t get off to a good start, it puts you on the back foot. .”

Six points from Coney helped Tyrone lead 0-10 to 0-3 at the break, with Paul Finlay hitting all Monaghan’s scores from frees.

Substitute Ciarán Hanratty pulled back a goal for Monaghan within 20 seconds of the restart, and they closed the gap to four points. But they lacked the penetration to push on, and Tyrone killed the game off with points from Coney, Owen Mulligan and Cathal McCarron, who also blasted a stoppage time goal.

Scorers for Tyrone: C McCarron 1-1, K Coney 0-8 (5f), O Mulligan 0-3 (3f), S Cavanagh 0-2, P Harte, C Cavanagh 0-1 each.

Scorers for Monaghan: C Hanratty 1-0, P Finlay 0-4 (4f), T Freeman 0-2 (1f).

TYRONE: P McConnell, A McCrory, Justin McMahon, PJ Quinn, C McCarron, P Harte, R McMenamin, M Murphy, C Cavanagh, R McNabb, Mark Donnelly, S Cavanagh, K Coney, S O’Neill, O Mulligan.

Subs: C Gormley for McMahon, N McKenna for S Cavanagh, A Cassidy for Murphy, P McNeice for O’Neill, D Carlin for Quinn.

MONAGHAN: M Keogh; V Corey, D Mone, K Duffy; D Malone, D Wylie, David Hughes; E Lennon, D Clerkin; P Finlay, Darren Hughes, N McAdam; C McGuinness, K Hughes, S Gollogly.

Subs: D Morgan for Duffy, T Freeman for Malone, P Dooney for Gollogly, C Hanratty for McGuinness, C McManus for Clerkin.

Referee: M Higgins (Fermanagh).

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