Fintan Kelly eases Monaghan nerves as they shake off Carlow
Defender’s late goal helps Ulster side pull away in closing stages after major scare
Monaghan’s Fintan Kelly scores his side’s goal in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Round 3B qualifier against Carlow at Netwatch Cullen Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Carlow 1-7 Monaghan 1-12
Carlow footballers provided a serious test for favourites Monaghan in Saturday night’s Round 3B All-Ireland Qualifier at Netwatch Cullen Park; the Ulster side only only pulling away in the last 10 minutes aided by a 65th-minute goal from right corner back Fintan Kelly.
Before an attendance of 6,124 Carlow matched their opponents in all phases of the game and in a low-scoring opening half trailed by 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time. Turlough O’Brien’s side might have gone in ahead had Seán Gannon’s shot for goal not gone the wrong side of the post on 30 minutes. Monaghan’s Darren Hughes was black carded in first-half injury time.
Monaghan led 0-6 to 0-5 before Carlow’s goal on 49 minutes when team captain Darragh Foley’s 45-metre free fell short in the Monaghan goalmouth and left half back Gary Kelly swept it to the net.
Buoyed by the huge home support Carlow remained in front until the final stages with Kelly’s goal putting them 1-10 to 1-6 ahead, providing manager Malachy O’Rourke with a modicum of comfort for the first time in the game.
While Conor McManus had a quiet game by his high standards, midfielder Kieran Hughes certainly rose to the occasion, hitting three vital points from play while the introduction of Conor McCarthy to the attack in the second half had a positive effect – McCarthy scored two points and provided the scoring pass for Kelly’s goal.
Brendan Murphy, Gary Kelly and Paul Broderick, who was once again impeccable with his free-taking, were Carlow’s most prominent players in a game where the experience and pace of their opponents proved the decisive factors in the last 10 minutes.
CARLOW: R Molloy; C Lawlor, S Redmond, M Rennick; D Moran, D St Ledger, G Kelly (1-0); S Murphy, E Ruth; B Murphy (0-2), D Foley, S Gannon; P Broderick (0-5, all frees), C Moran, J Murphy.
Subs: S Clarke for Moran (62 mins); K Nolan for Kelly (62 mins).
MONAGHAN: R Beggan (0-1, free); F Kelly (1-0), D Wylie, R Wylie; D Hughes, C Walshe, K O’Connell; K Hughes (0-3), N McAdam; G Doogan, D Malon (0-1), Shane Carey (0-1); O Duffy, J McCarron, C McManus (0-3, two frees).
Subs: D Mone for D Hughes (b/c, 36 mins); C McCarthy (0-2, one free) for McCarron (44 mins); R McAnespie (0-1) for Duffy (52 mins); V Corey for McAdam (57 mins); D Ward for Carey (69 mins); K Duffy for Doogan (73 mins).
Referee: C Reilly (Louth).