Tyrone make semis with narrow victory over Monaghan

Tyrone made it through to their first All-Ireland SFC semi-final since 2009 with a narrow win over Ulster neighbours Monaghan in an attritional battle at Croke Park.

Tyrone make semis with narrow victory over Monaghan

Tyrone 0-14

Monaghan 0-12

Tyrone made it through to their first All-Ireland SFC semi-final since 2009 with a narrow win over Ulster neighbours Monaghan in an attritional battle at Croke Park.

Sean Cavanagh once again led by example with a wonderful midfield performance as the Red Hands maintained their excellent championship record against the Farney men.

Both teams finished with 14 men, Martin Penrose ruled out of the semi-final after receiving a straight red card prior to the beginning of the second half, and Monaghan’s Kieran Hughes sent off on a second yellow 12 minutes later.

Tyrone displayed their experience to close out yet another tight game, with Conor Gormley, Cathal McCarron and Cavanagh rising to the occasion in the closing stages.

Monaghan showed no fear of their opponents as they took the game to Tyrone right from the off.

Conor McManus settled their big-match nerves by calmly slotting two frees between the posts, and Paul Finlay also converted a placed ball.

Full forward Kieran Hughes collected a Drew Wylie delivery to thump over an inspirational point, and the Farney faithful were in fine voice around the stands of GAA Headquarters.

Frees from Sean Cavanagh and Darren McCurry got Tyrone’s challenge up and running, before Finlay restored the Ulster champions’ three points advantage.

Darren Hughes had been cancelling out Sean Cavanagh at midfield, but in the 16th minute, the Monaghan man picked up a booking which gave Cavanagh the freedom and licence to carry ball deep into opposition territory and slot over two trademark points.

Some solid defending by Neil McAdam and Dessie Mone nipped Tyrone attacks in the bud, but they were coming under increasing pressure as the experienced Red Hands built the momentum.

Conor Clarke brought them level and it was Joe McMahon, with the first of two wonderful scores, who gave Mickey Harte’s side the lead for the first time in the game.

Monaghan boss Malachy O’Rourke introduced Dick Clerkin to pick up Cavanagh late in the half, which finished well for his side, with McManus steering over a gem from a tight angle.

Tyrone led by 0-9 to 0-7 at the interval, and sensationally had Penrose red-carded prior to the beginning of the second half, his punishment for a strike on Dessie Mone at the end of the opening period.

Pascal McConnell’s poor kick-out almost gifted Monaghan a goal, Christopher McGuinness sending Stephen Gollogly through but he blasted the ball over the bar.

The Red Hands lost Joe McMahon to injury, and Monaghan were also reduced to 14 men when Kieran Hughes picked up a second yellow card in the 47th minute.

Tyrone kept their noses in front, with Peter Harte and Ciaran McGinley both pushing forward from the half back line to score,

McManus and Christopher McGuinness rewarded Monaghan’s industry with scores to keep them on the coat-tails of their opponents going into the last 10 minutes, and but for some heroic defending from Cathal McCarron, they could have been in for further scores.

McGuinness broke up a Tyrone attack with a vital intercept, sending Clerkin away to win the free from which McManus brought the sides level in the 63rd minute, but the Red Hands went back in front instantly through substitute Ronan O’Neill.

Clarke could have settled it with a screamer which came back off the crossbar, but Cavanagh sealed it with his fifth point of the contest to secure Tyrone’s place in the last four.

Tyrone: P McConnell, D Carlin, C Clarke (0-1), C McCarron, C McGinley (0-1), P Harte (0-1), C Gormley, C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh (0-5, 2f), Mattie Donnelly (0-1), Mark Donnelly, Joe McMahon (0-2), D McCurry (0-2, 2f), S O’Neill, M Penrose.

Subs: P MCNeice for McMahon, A Cassidy for McCurry, R McNabb for McNeice, R O’Neill (0-1) for S O’Neill, P Kane for Mark Donnelly

Monaghan: R Beggan, K Duffy, D Wylie, C Walshe, V Corey, N McAdam, D Mone, O Lennon, D Hughes, P Finlay (0-2, 2f), S Gollogly (0-1), D Malone, P Donaghy, K Hughes (0-1), C McManus (0-6, 4f).

Subs: D Clerkin (0-1) for Malone, C McGuinness (0-1) for Donaghy, T Freeman for Finlay, J McCarron for Walshe

Referee: C Reilly (Meath).

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