Farney edge it as Red Hand left aggrieved

Monaghan 1-12 Tyrone 0-14

Farney edge it as Red Hand left  aggrieved

When it was all over, Monaghan midfielder Darren Hughes hared back onto the pitch a handful of minutes after being awarded a black card while Tyrone manager Mickey Harte was blowing steam at the refereeing of Eddie Kinsella.

The result was a migration of players, managers, officials and assorted hangers-on into the midfield of the pitch and, though there was no suggestion of anything beyond acts of bravado taking place, it all left a bad aftertaste.

Tyrone certainly left with a case of indigestion with the unused sub and former All Star Joe McMahon tweeting afterwards: “Man of the match today for Monaghan #kinsella”.

Harte refused to speak to the media afterwards, leaving it to his selector Tony Donnelly to voice their disappointment at the official’s interpretation of events in that final quarter as Tyrone almost clawed back a five-point deficit.

Three players had black cards waved in their faces in that end game – Hughes and Dermot Malone for the home side and Darren McCurry for the visitors – while Monaghan earned 26 frees to the opposition’s 18.

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, so are these things.

One example proves as much: the free awarded to Sean Cavanagh 68 minutes in as he bore down Monaghan’s right flank. Darren Hughes was shown a black card for it though he protested the attacker had dragged both of them down.

Whatever the wrongs and rights, the home supporters could claim a sense of belated justice given the importance Cavanagh’s rugby tackle on Conor McManus had when the sides met in Croke Park last summer.

Adding to Tyrone’s frustration here was the decision to add just two minutes to the 70, though Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan will be feeling the worst of all this morning given he missed a late, late free attempt to level it.

“We have not got a complex about it, but what we are saying is that we possibly would like fair play,” said Donnelly.

His inference was that Tyrone weren’t privy to that on the day and admitted as much when asked to clarify.

The pair were level six times in the first 33 minutes, but Monaghan led by 0-8 to 0-6 at the break despite a missed open goal and a penalty off the post from Kieran Hughes. Four of the scores came from captain McManus, a late addition to the 15.

McManus damaged ankle ligaments in a club game after the county’s victorious Division Two campaign and was initially named as a sub, but the decision was made at 11.30 yesterday for him to play and it paid off.

The Clontibret forward kicked six frees and, though he kicked three astray from play, his worth to his side has always been about more than that. Yesterday proved it again with his ability to win clean ball and bring colleagues into play.

Yet this was a result built on Monaghan’s defence. Singling out one seems churlish given the evidence but Drew Wylie, Colin Walshe, Dessie Mone, Vinny Corey and Fintan Kelly were exceptional in their duties at the back and going forward.

With Kieran Duffy sweeping in the first-half and Wylie and Mone taking turns in that role after the interval, Monaghan felt secure enough to break at pace and they did so on numerous occasions.

The only goal 43 minutes in broke the back of the day, Darren Hughes spurning a point to suck in three defenders and feeding Malone who shot low past Morgan. That left the gap at five points and Tyrone looked spent.

Monaghan had by then engineered three goal chances and taken one. Tyrone had been nowhere near goal, the sight of an aging Stephen O’Neill retreating into midfield for work symbolic of their troubles.

Yet they refused to yield. Monaghan didn’t help themselves by shutting up shop too early – how many frees did they play meekly backwards? – but Sean Cavanagh led the charge with some storming runs through the middle.

The loss of McCurry to his black card was a blow but Conor McAliskey came in to slot two scores over and three others contributed to the scorecard as Monaghan were outscored by six points to two down the stretch.

In the end, it fell to Morgan to salvage a draw with a 40-metre free that never drifted in. On such a slim margin was it decided. Same as it ever was up north, then.

Scorers for Monaghan: C McManus (0-6fs), D Malone (1-0), K Hughes, F Kelly (both 0-2), R Beggan (0-2, 1 45, 1f).

Scorers for Tyrone: D McCurry (0-4, 2fs), Mattie Donnelly (0-3), N Morgan (0-2, 1 45, 1f), C McAliskey (1f), S Cavanagh (0-2 each), C McGinley (0-1).

MONAGHAN: R Beggan; C Walshe, D Wylie, R Wylie; D Mone, V Corey, F Kelly; D Clerkin, D Hughes; D Malone, C McGuinness, P McKenna; K Duffy, K Hughes, C McManus. Subs for Monaghan: P Donaghy for McKenna; C Boyle for Duffy (both ht), S Gollogly for McGuinness (55), K O’Connell for Boyle (62), P Finlay for Malone (bc, 62), J McCarron for D Hughes (bc, 70).

TYRONE: N Morgan; R McNamee, Justin McMahon, A McCrory; Mattie Donnelly, R McNabb, P Harte; C Cavanagh, C Grugan; M Penrose, S Cavanagh, C McGinley; D McCurry, S O’Neill, R O’Neill. Subs for Tyrone: C Gormley for McNabb (ht), C McAliskey for R O’Neill, K Coney for Grugan (both 42), Mark Donnelly for McGinley (53), PJ Lavery for McCurry (bc, 62).

Referee: E Kinsella (Laois).

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