Monaghan 0-15, Derry 0-10:
Monaghan moved a step closer to a place in the semi-finals of the Allianz Football League following this five-point victory over Derry in Clones yesterday.
The result leaves Derry deeper in relegation trouble, but they can have few complaints as they were outplayed in most departments by a hard-working Monaghan side.
Derry did open the scoring through Emmet McGuckin and led twice in the opening 10 minutes but thereafter they were playing catch up against a Monaghan team that defended in numbers and broke quickly on telling counter-attacks.
Conor McManus led the Monaghan scoring charge up front with six points, one from a free, and was a little unlucky in the swirling wind with a couple of other efforts.
Fellow Clontibret man Dessie Mone also caught the eye, rattling over four excellent points, a couple from distance, in a man-of the-match performance. Neither side gained any real foothold in the midfield sector although Neil McAdam did take a number of fine catches but it was Monaghan’s ability to buildfrom deep that kept Derry under pressure for long periods.
Monaghan took the lead for the first time in the 11th minute and went on to lead at the break by three and could have been further in front at that stage but for six wides, a couple from frees, and the crossbar denying Conor McManus what looked a certain goal.
On the resumption, Conor McManus extended Monaghan’s lead but Derry kept in touch and twice in the third quarter they had the margin down to two.
Points by Paul Finlay and two by Conor McManus pushed Monaghan five clear heading into the final quarter, before Mark Lynch pulled back a point from a free.
Derry were then left confused as to why a goal by Emmet McGuckin, when he palmed to the Monaghan net, was ruled out.
Conor McManus and another Dessie Mone special put Monaghan six in front by the final minute of normal time with Derry only able to pull back a late point by Mark Lynch to leave five in it at the finish.
“I suppose the most pleasing thing about this game and the result for us was the work-rate that the boys put in,” said Monaghan manager Malachy O’Rourke.
“We knew coming here today that Derry would be tough opponents. They always are and these all-Ulster games are always very competitive, but the boys stuck to their task all through and just kept working hard.
“Although we were leading at half-time, we knew Derry would come back at us in the second-half and they did and I suppose that goal could have changed the game. We’ll never know, but our defence played particularly well in the second-half and I think we were worth our victory, although there are things we will have to work on before we play the All-Ireland champions in the next game.”
Derry manager Brian McIver was understandably disappointed yet pragmatic and acknowledged that the better team had won.
“We just didn’t take our chances on the day. It’s as simple as that and in tight games like this you cannot afford to miss chances and waste possession the way we did at times.
“Monaghan were that bit more clinical in those aspects of their play and the better team won on the day”.
Scorers for Monaghan: C McManus 0-6 (0-1f) D Mone 0-4, P Finlay 0-2 K Hughes 0-2, F Kelly 0-1
Scorers for Derry:
M Lynch 0-5 (0-4f), B Heron, E Lynn, D McKinless, E McGuckin, C McWilliams 0-1 each.
Subs for Monaghan: K Duffy for C Boyle (30), S Gollogly for T Kerr (HT), D McKenna for P Finlay (60), O Duffy for N McAdam (68).
Subs for Derry: M McIver for B Og McAlary (29), E Bradley for D McKinless (29), J Kielt 0-1 for E Bradley (HT), E Bradley for B Og McGilligAn (52), A McAlynn for C McWilliams (69).
Referee: S Hurson (Tyrone).
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