Tyrone 0-9 Monaghan 1-13
Monaghan returned to Division One in a blaze of glory, turning over Tyrone at Healy Park to launch their season with two points on the road.
Five points behind with 27 minutes played, few of their supporters in the 4,124 crowd would have dared to suggest they would end a long evening on the winning side with seven points to spare.
But that’s exactly what happened, and Tyrone boss Mickey Harte will be searching for reasons for his side’s alarming collapse following a promising start.
The game was held up for more than half an hour due to floodlight failure, but that didn’t halt Monaghan’s building momentum, and they killed the game off with a 60th minute Stephen Gollogly goal.
Sean Cavanagh, restored to the full forward role which won him the Footballer of the Year award in 2008, was a constant threat, and he opened the scoring from a free.
Peter Hughes collected Aidan McCrory’s pass to double the lead, before Dessie Mone’s spectacular long range effort got the Farney men going.
Kieran Hughes tapped over a free, but the Red Hands continued to call the shots, building patiently from the back, with McCrory and Mattie Donnelly taking every opportunity to add impetus to the attacking effort.
Cavanagh won a couple of frees that Darren McCurry tapped between the posts, and now the home side led by three points as the opening quarter ended.
And Mickey Harte’s men eased five points clear, with McCurry notching his third point from a placed ball.
Monaghan had gone 20 minutes without a score, before Darren Hughes took the game by the scruff of the neck, bursting past three tackles to punch over a point that inspired those around him to greater things.
They hit the last three scores of the half to narrow the gap to two, and Tyrone failed to score in the final 17 minutes.
They still led 0-7 to 0-5, but Monaghan, now with the stiff breeze in their backs, continued to run at the home side, hitting the opening there points of the second half.
Debut boy Ryan McAnespie had just given the Farney men the lead for the first time in the 39th minute when the lights failed.
After a 31 minute delay, the Farney men found little difficulty in picking up the pace, while their opponents continued to struggle to find their early sparkle.
Matters became worse for Mickey Harte’s side when one of their most effective performers, centre back Mattie Donnelly, picked up a black card for dragging back Darren Hughes.
Monaghan tails were up, and their supporters among the 4,124 crowd were ecstatic when Paul Finlay came off the bench to sweep over a delightful free.
Tyrone had gone 38 minutes without raising a flag before goalkeeper Niall Morgan thumped a 47 metre free between the posts, but moments later Morgan was picking the ball out of his net following Stephen Gollogly’s sublime 60th minute finish for the only goal of the game.
Tyrone finished the game with 14 men following Colm Cavanagh’s second booking, and Monaghan finished on a high with scores from Finlay and substitute Conor McManus.
Tyrone: N Morgan (0-1, f), A McCrory (0-1), R McNamee, C McCarron, R McNabb, M Donnelly, B Tierney, C Cavanagh, P McNulty, PJ Lavery, R O’Neill, P Hughes (0-2), D McCurry (0-4, 3f), S Cavanagh (0-1, f), N McKenna.
Subs: S McGuigan for Lavery (41), C McCann for Hughes (41), T McCann for Donnelly (BC, 41), C McAliskey for McKenna (51)
Monaghan: R Beggan, F Kelly, D Wylie, R Wylie, D Mone (0-2), D Hughes (0-1), K Duffy, N McAdam, D Clerkin, K Hughes (0-2, 2f), S Gollogly (1-2, 0-1f), C Boyle, D Malone (0-1), D McKenna (0-1), R McAnespie (0-1).
Subs: P Finlay (0-2, 2f) for Clerkin (47), C McManus (0-1) for McKenna (59), E Duffy for K Hughes (67)
Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).