James Kielt’s stunning goal in the last minute of normal time booked Derry a place in the decider against Tyrone for the second year in a row.
Derry had the best of the opening half but Monaghan, who made three half-time changes, were much-improved in the second half with sub Conor McCarthy goaling in the 51st minute to put them ahead for the first time. Goals from Emmett McGuckin and Kielt in the last quarter sealed it for Derry, but Mone’s injury after 10 minutes was worrying Monaghan boss Malachy O’Rourke more than the result.
“It’d be an awful setback on a personal level and for us if the bone was broken again, but hopefully it’s not.”
Derry led, by 0-6 to 0-4, at the interval but they also hit seven wides while Monaghan hit six and both dropped a number of balls short.
Derry scored the opening three minutes, through Kielt (free), Aidan McLoughlin and Enda Lynn inside 12 minutes.
After a number of wasteful Monaghan attacks, Kieran Hughes’ trusty left boot got Monaghan on the board two minutes later. Kielt tagged on another free to open up a 0-6 to 0-2 lead for the Oak Leafers, but a Conor McManus brace just before the break reduced the deficit.
A Mark Lynch free had Derry ahead 0-9 to 0-6 but Monaghan hit 1-3 in a seven-minute spell with Fintan Kelly and McCarthy pointing and the latter also running through for a well-taken goal. It looked like Monaghan would kick on but Derry, with a new-look defence, responded with good support play and McGuckin palmed the ball to the net after Ryan Bell’s score.
The sides were level twice late on before Kielt’s thunderbolt put Derry through to Saturday’s final with Tyrone in Pairc Esler.
J Kielt 1-3 (3f), E McGuckin 1-0, N Loughlin 0-3 (2f), E Lynn, R Bell, B Grant, A McLaughlin, N Forrester 0-1 each, M Lynch 0-1 (f)
C McManus 0-4 (3f), C McCarthy 1-1, O Duffy, F Kelly 0-2 each, B McGinn 0-2 (1f), K Hughes, D Wylie 0-1 each.
B McKinless; N Keenan, C Nevin, R Murphy; N Forrester, O Duffin, M Craig; J Kielt, A McLaughlin; E Lynn, N Loughlin, C McWilliams; E McGuckin, R Bell, B Heron.
M Warnock for McWilliams (18), C McAtamney for McLaughlin (18), M Lynch for McAtmaney (BC, 35), B Grant for Heron (BC, 35), C McGroogan for Craig (44), G O’Neill for Bell (66).
C Forde; D Wylie, N McAdam, R Wylie; F Kelly, K Hughes, C Walshe; D Mone, N Kearns; K O’Connell, B McGinn, O Duffy; R McAnespie, D Malone, C McManus.
K Duffy for Mone (10), D Hughes for Kearns (HT), M Murnaghan for McAdam (HT), C McCarthy for Malone (HT), S Carey for McAnespie (51), T Kerr for McManus (68).
Ciaran Branagan (Down)