Hughes goal crucial as Monaghan secure promotion

Monaghan 3-16 Antrim 0-13

Monaghan got off to the perfect start with a goal by Christopher McGuinness in the opening minute and added a second just on the half hour when Kieran Hughes applied a sublime finish after he was placed in with an inch-perfect cross by Colin Walshe.

Monaghan led at half-time by 2-9 to 0-7 and while Antrim put in a real battling performance in the second half, too often they failed to apply the finish they needed to narrow the gap. Any chance they had of making a real battle of it was killed off 14 minutes into the second half when Darren Hughes scored a brilliant solo goal to leave Monaghan ahead by 10 points.

Owen Duffy increased that lead before Antrim hit three quick-fire points, two by Paddy Cunningham and one from Michael Pollock, to reduce the deficit to eight but that was as good as it was going to get, with Monaghan tacking on points from Owen Lennon and Connor McManus (two) to seal victory.

Monaghan finished with 14 players when Kieran Hughes received a second yellow card seven minutes from time.

Scorers for Monaghan: K Hughes 1-2, C McManus 0-5 (4fs), C McGuinness 1-1, D Hughes 1-0, D Clerkin, P Finlay (2fs) 0-2 each, R Beggan (45), O Lennon, O Duffy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Antrim: P Cunningham 0-8 (4fs), M Pollock 0-2, C Murray, K Niblock, A McClean 0-1 each.

MONAGHAN: R Beggan; R McNally, D Wylie, K Duffy; C Walshe, N McAdam, D Hughes; O Lennon, D Clerkin; P Finlay, D Malone, O Duffy; K Hughes, C McManus;, C McGuinness.

Subs: V Corey for K Duffy, S Gollogly for D Malone, K O’Connell for R McNally.

ANTRIM: C Kerr; K O’Boyle, M Johnson, N Delargy; A Healy, J Crozier, D McCann; M Herron, S McVeigh; C Murray 0-1, K Niblock, B Herron, P Cunningham, M Pollock, J Lavery.

Subs: A McClean for J Crozier, R Johnson for D McCann, M McCann for S McVeigh.

Referee: S Hehir (Galway).

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