Crucial win for Monaghan

Monaghan 1-14 Tyrone 0-16

Monaghan 1-14 Tyrone 0-16

Monaghan scored a crucial victory to drag themselves off the bottom of the Division One table in the first ever NFL game to be played at Inniskeen.

Tyrone, having lost their opening three games, are left anchored to the foot of the table along with Kerry, with both big guns facing a real battle to preserve their premier status.

The Farney men hung on to win by a single point, despite playing out the final few moments with just 13 men following the second yellow card dismissals of Stephen Gollogly and Tommy Freeman.

It was Freeman who scored the only goal of the game on 32 minutes, a score that proved so precious to their side in front of 3,654 spectators.

Freeman and Paul Finlay were on target for Monaghan in the opening stages, but Tyrone drew level through Tommy McGuigan in the 11th minute.

Raymond Mulgrew and Kevin Hughes shot Red hand points during a dominant period which saw them go four points clear at 0-8 to 0-4, with Owen Mulligan also on target.

Hughes, Aidan Cassidy and Colm Cavanagh had been ensuring midfield dominance for Mickey Harte’s side, but the switch of full back Darren Hughes to the central sector helped Monaghan turn things around.

Converted frees from Finlay and Conor McManus narrowed the gap, and they went level in the 32nd minute with a Tommy Freeman goal.

He dispossessed Conor Gormley 35 metres out, and sprinted in to drill a clinical finish past Johnny Curran.

Finlay’s fourth free in the fourth minute of stoppage time sent the Farney men in with a 1-7 to 0-9 lead.

Eighteen of the game’s 30 points came from frees, but many of these were of the highest quality, particularly the conversions by Penrose and Monaghan’s Conor McManus during a third quarter that ended with the sides deadlocked on 1-9 to 0-12.

Aidan Cassidy’s Trojan efforts at midfield were just bettered by those of Darren Hughes and Vinny Corey when they entered the engineroom battle.

With five minutes to play, the sides were still level, but Finlay got Monaghan back in front, booting over when he could have gone for goal.

Stephen Gollogly and Tommy Freeman both picked up second yellow cards – there were nine other bookings – in the closing stages, but the home side held on to kick-start their battle for survival.

Monaghan: S Duffy, D McArdle, D Hughes, D Mone, C Walshe, N McAdam, K Hughes, F Caulfield, P Finlay (0-7, 6 f), D Clerkin (0-1), S Gollogly, M McElroy, C McManus (0-4, 4f), V Corey, T Freeman (1-1).

Subs: C Greenan for Caulfield, D Morgan for Greenan, R Woods (0-1) for K Hughes, D Malone for McElroy.

Tyrone: J Curran, D Carlin (0-1), J McMahon, S O’Neill, D Harte, C Gormley, R McMenamin, A Cassidy, K Hughes (0-1), C Cavanagh, B McGuigan, R Mulgrew (0-2), T McGuigan (0-4, 3f), M Penrose (0-5, 5f), O Mulligan (0-2).

Subs: E McGinley for Hughes, C McCullagh for B McGuigan, E McCusker (0-1) for Mulgrew.

Referee: M Higgins (Fermanagh).

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