Ulster Senior Football Championship Preliminary Round
Monaghan 1-20 Fermanagh 1-11
Monaghan started the Ulster SFC with a nine-point win over Fermanagh in the preliminary round at Clones on Saturday evening.
Monaghan were relieved to go in two points up after a first half where they were made to sweat by a spirited Fermanagh side, but the 2015 Ulster champions eventually pulled away.
Conor McManus led 13 Monaghan scorers with 1-3, while their bench made an impact in their second-half surge. Ryan Lyons got Fermanagh’s goal, but they were over-reliant on Tomás Corrigan up front and their challenge tailed off as the game went on.
Fermanagh were first off the mark with a Tomás Corrigan free, but Kieran Hughes and Colin Walshe responded for Monaghan, although Hughes was then black-carded for a trip on Ryan Lyons.
Frees by Corrigan and Seán Quigley regained the lead for Fermanagh, but Walshe kicked an equaliser, before Conor McManus capitalised on a loose kick-out to score the opening goal in the 15th minute.
Shane Carey added a point for Monaghan, but Fermanagh got right back into it when Lyons found the net from close range. Lee Cullen edged Pete McGrath’s charges in front, but Karl O’Connell and Conor McCarthy moved Monaghan ahead again. Corrigan levelled it up, but Monaghan hit the last two points of the half from frees by Jack McCarron and McManus to lead by 1-8 to 1-6.
Neil McAdam kicked the first point of the second half for Monaghan, but Corrigan landed another free, before Quigley found his range from play.
McCarthy and Vincent Corey were unable to take goal chances for the hosts, but McManus and substitute Owen Duffy each landed a brace of points and McCarron curled one over from the right wing as Malachy O’Rourke’s charges upped their game.
Duffy’s third point moved Monaghan further clear, while Fintan Kelly, Gavin Doogan, and substitutes Dessie Mone and Dermot Malone all added their names to the scoresheet.
Sub Eddie Courtney ended 22 scoreless minutes for Fermanagh, with Aidan Breen adding a late brace, but Monaghan ended up nine clear as they advanced to another local derby against Cavan in the Ulster quarter-finals.
Scorers for Monaghan: C McManus 1-3 (0-1f), O Duffy 0-3, C McCarthy 0-2, J McCarron 0-2 (1f), C Walshe 0-2, F Kelly 0-1, N McAdam 0-1, D Malone 0-1, D Mone 0-1, K Hughes 0-1, G Doogan 0-1, S Carey 0-1, K O’Connell 0-1.
Scorers for Fermanagh: T Corrigan 0-5 (4f), R Lyons 1-0. A Breen 0-2, S Quigley 0-2 (1f), L Cullen 0-1, E Courtney 0-1.
MONAGHAN: R Beggan; R Wylie, D Wylie, F Kelly; K O’Connell, V Corey, C Walshe (Capt.); N McAdam, K Hughes; G Doogan, S Carey, D Ward; C McCarthy, J McCarron, C McManus.
Subs: R McAnespie for Hughes (black card, 8), O Duffy for Carey (41), D Malone for Ward (49), K Duffy for Corey (57), D Mone for Kelly (62), M Bannigan for McCarthy (67).
FERMANAGH: T Treacy; M Jones, C Cullen, C McManus; A Breen, R McCluskey, C Murphy; E Donnelly (Capt.), L Cullen; B Mulrone, R Lyons, P McCusker; K Connor, S Quigley, T Corrigan.
Subs: R Jones for Connor (49), E Courtney for Quigley (56), C Beacom for Lyons, D Keenan for McCusker (58).
REFEREE: D O’Mahoney (Tipperary).