Ulster Senior Football Championship Quarter-final
Tyrone 1-16 Monaghan 1-18
Tyrone’s grip on the Ulster Senior Football Championship crown ended at Healy Park in Omagh on Sunday afternoon when they fell by two points to Monaghan in an enthralling encounter in front of a 15,000 strong crowd.
Tyrone, attempting to win a first ever three in a row of Anglo Celts, made a bright start as they established a 0-5 to 0-2 lead but they then went 20
minutes without scoring and an injury time Vinny Corey goal left Monaghan leading 1-7 to 0-8 at the break.
The visitors picked up where they had left off on the restart as they doubled their advantage but Tyrone hit back and it was all square with four minutes left to play.
Monaghan though finished the game in style with five late points and while Tyrone got a goal from substitute Michael McKernan deep into injury time it came too late to save the holders.
Mickey Harte gambled by starting with Colm Cavanagh, Tiernan McCann and Lee Brennan, who were all carrying injuries, and it didn’t work for them with all three players having to be replaced.
Monaghan on the other hand got everything right with their bench all playing a significant part in their victory. Keeper Rory Beggan hit four superb conversions with Corey, Karl O’Connell, Darren Hughes, championship debutant Niall Kearns, Jack McCarron and top scorer Conor McManus all playing key roles.
With the game in the melting pot in those closing stages it looked like Tyrone might kick on but they faded and that will be the most disappointing thing from their perspective. Padraig Hampsey, Frank Burns and Mattie Donnelly all tried hard while Connor McAliskey was the Red Hands best player on the day but their afternoon was summed up when they had Peter Harte straight red carded three minutes into injury time at the end of the contest.
The visitors made the best possible start with the lively Fintan Kelly splitting the posts inside the opening 30 seconds. Tyrone though were soon level
when McCann and Cavanagh combined for Cathal McShane to point.
The home side were looking sharp early on with McAliskey putting his side in front before Niall Sludden opened up a two point gap with a superb effort with the outside of his boot.
McManus then got his first score of the day from a free but it was Tyrone who had the upper hand. Corner back Padraig Hampsey joined the attack to hit a superb point before another Brennan free left it 0-5 to 0-2 with less than 10 minutes played.
However, Tyrone then lost the momentum and went a full 20 minutes without scoring again.
Meanwhile, Beggan and McManus knocked over frees with a brilliant Jack McCarron point from play sandwiched in between.
By this stage Tyrone had been forced to take off key attacker Mark Bradley after he had picked up an early injury but the home side then ended their barren spell with frees from McAliskey and Brennan and with the interval approaching they would have been content enough with that position.
Beggan landed a monster free and while Mattie Donnelly cancelled that out at the other end of the field, it was Monaghan who had their tails up.
In the 37th minute Corey exchanged passes with McManus before also playing a 'one-two' with Hughes before finishing to the net in style.
Full back Drew Wylie then hit an inspirational point to leave Monaghan leading 1-7 to 0-8 at half-time.
A McCarron free got Monaghan up and running in the second half and when Ryan McAnespie followed that up with a brilliant point from an acute angle
Tyrone were in trouble.
McAliskey and substitute Conor McCarthy exchanged points before another brace from the former had the holders right back in contention. At the other end of the field Niall Morgan pushed a Karl O’Connell shot onto the post and out for a “45” which Beggan nailed.
Tyrone though then enjoyed one of their best spells of the game as Harte and Sludden closed the gap to the minimum before Beggan converted another “45” only for Dessie Mone to score from an almost impossible angle on the end line.
The holders though were far from finished with substitute Michael McKernan pointing before two more McAliskey frees left it all square at 1-13 to 0-16 with four minutes of normal time left to play.
Tyrone were in the ascendancy but it was Monaghan who took the game by the scruff of the neck when it mattered most. McManus showed great composure to land a tricky free from out on the left wing and Monaghan never looked back.
Colin Walshe, who didn’t start but came on, hit a quality point before another McManus free left three between the sides again. The 4 th official signalled that there was at least five minutes of injury time to be played but Monaghan weren’t going to let it slip now.
McManus hit a real beauty from the right wing and with that sections of the Tyrone support began to file to the exit gates. An afternoon to forget for Tyrone got worse when Peter Harte was straight red carded after an incident with Ryan Wylie.
The superb McManus then surged through to point from play and his clinched fist salute signalled that the contest was over. McKernan did get a goal for
Tyrone in the final play after getting on the end of a Frank Burns “45” but it was only a consolation score at that stage.
Tyrone scorers: Connor McAliskey 0-6 (3f), Michael McKernan 1-1, Lee Brennan 0-3 (3f), Niall Sludden 0-2, Padraig Hampsey 0-1, Mattie Donnelly 0-
1, Cathal McShane 0-1, Peter Harte 0-1
Monaghan scorers: Conor McManus 0-6 (4f), Rory Beggan 0-4 (2f, 2 “45s”), Vinny Corey 1-0, Jack McCarron 0-2 (1f), Fintan Kelly 0-1, Drew Wylie 0-1, Colin Walshe 0-1, Conor McCarthy 0-1, Dessie Mone 0-1, Ryan McAnespie 0-1
TYRONE: Niall Morgan, Padraig Hampsey, Ronan McNamee, Cathal McCarron, Tiernan McCann, Frank Burns, Peter Harte, Colm Cavanagh, Mattie Donnelly, Cathal McShane, Niall Sludden, Conor Meyler, Lee Brennan, Connor McAliskey, Mark Bradley.
Subs: Ronan O’Neill for Bradley (19), Declan McClure for Cavanagh (HT), Michael McKernan for McCarron (40), Hugh Pat McGeary for McCann (52), Kieran McGeary for Brennan (56), Conall McCann for O’Neill (61)
MONAGHAN: Rory Beggan; Dessie Mone, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie; Kieran Duffy, Vinny Corey, Karl O'Connell; Niall Kearns, Darren Hughes; Fintan Kelly, Jack McCarron, Dessie Ward; Ryan McAnespie, Kieran Hughes, Conor McManus.
Subs: Conor McCarthy for Ward (41), Owen Duffy for McCarron (61), Colin Walshe for Mone (64)
Referee: David Coldrick, Meath