Monaghan maintain winning run

Monaghan 0-13 Down 0-11: Monaghan just about held out in a frenetic finish to make it two wins from two outings but they were pushed all the way by a resurgent Down who were a transformed side from their opening weekend drubbing by Donegal.

Monaghan maintain winning run

Manager Eamon Burns’s troubles hadn’t ended with that defeat as injuries and suspension forced him to shuffle his deck with five changes.

Ryan Johnston was out with a shoulder problem and Donal O’Hare, who was their best forward on that miserable night in Newry last time out, was red-carded in the dying embers rendering him ineligible.

Played in bitterly cold and wet conditions, this game got off to a cracking start with Down opening a two-point lead after just five minutes through Connaire Harrison and Daragh O’Hanlon and they went on to dominate the opening quarter at the end of which they led by five points to three, Monaghan opening their account through Owen Duffy in the 6th minute.

Points by Conor McManus and Ryan McAnespie brought Monaghan level by the 21st minute and they went on to add three more in quick succession from Thomas Kerr, Dermot Malone and Owen Duffy from a very acute angle.

Shay McArdle pulled one back for the Mourne men but Monaghan were now in control and a point by Fintan Kelly in stoppage time saw them lead by three at the break, 0-9 to 0-6.

On the resumption Monaghan picked up where they had left off and extended their lead to five with points by Shane Carey and Ryan McAnespie.

That was still the margin entering the final quarter. From there to the finish though it was backs to the wall as Down upped their game and moved within a goal of taking the spoils.

But a combination of last-ditch defending by Monaghan and some crucial misses meant Monaghan held out.

Scorers for Monaghan:

R McAnespie, S Carey O Duffy, C McManus (1 free) (0-2 each); R Beggan (’45), F Kelly, D Malone, T Kerr, D McKenna (0-1 each)

Scorers for Down:

C Harrison 0-4 (3 frees); D O’Hanlon 0-3 (1 free); S McArdle 0-2; P Downey, M McKay (0-1 each)

MONAGHAN:

R Beggan, C Walshe, C Boyle, R Wylie, R McAnespie, K Duffy, F Kelly, N McAdam, D Hughes, K O’Connell, D Malone, T Kerr, S Carey, O Duffy, C McManus

Subs:

R Wylie for C Boyle (48), D McKenna 0-1 for O Duffy (55), K Hughes for K O’Connell (56), S Gollogly for D Malone (65), D Mone for F Kelly (74).

DOWN:

S Kane, R Boyle, G McGovern, M Magee, M Hughes, A Carr, D O’Hanlon, P Turley, H Brown, J Murphy, M Poland, K McKernan, c McGovern, C Harrison, S McArdle.

Subs:

S Dornan for M Poland (40), P Downey for S McArdle (56), L Howard for M Hughes (57), R Mallon for J Murphy (63), M McKay for P Turley (66).

Referee:

C Reilly (Meath).

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