Meath sub Jordan Morris earns his side a late draw with Monaghan
Conor McManus stars as hosts cement their Division 1 status for next season in Clones
Conor McManus is challenged by Conor McGill during Monaghan’s draw with Meath. Photograph: Inpho
Monaghan 2-14 Meath 1-17
Three points from substitute Jordan Morris saw Meath end their losing sequence in the Allianz League Division 1 as they fought back for a share of the spoils with Monaghan in Clones.
Played in bright if somewhat breezy conditions this was an entertaining contest that was in the balance in the final stages and could have gone either way, but overall a draw was probably a fair enough result and it also saw Monaghan retain their top flight status for next season.
Monaghan got off to much the better start and led by 1-3 to a point after seven minutes, the goal by Micheal Bannigan in the seventh minute. By that stage they should have been much further ahead as Meath took some time to settle.
By the first half water break Monaghan were ahead by 1-4 to 0-2, Conor McManus with his second point. When play resumed both sides were guilty of some wasteful finishing before Conor McCarthy extended Monaghan’s lead to six points with a free on the half hour mark.
Meath were now settling more to the task and they responded with three points in quick succession from Donal Keogan, Shane Walsh and Jason Scully to reduce the deficit to three.
Points by McManus and Fintan Kelly pushed Monaghan five clear going into stoppage time, but Meath pulled back two before the break through Ronan Jones and Thomas O’Reilly from a free to leave the half-time score Monaghan 1-7 Meath 0-7.
Meath got off to a good start after the interval with two points by substitute Morris, from a free and a mark, to reduce the deficit to one after six minutes.
Four minutes later, Meath had turned that deficit into a two-point lead when Brian McMahon sent in a teasing cross that was palmed to the net from close range by Brian Menton but by the second-half water break Monaghan were back on level terms through a brace from McManus, one from a free.
The sides were tied up again after 20 minutes following an exchange between Morris and McManus from a free, with Morris then restoring the visitors to the lead in the 21st minute as Meath repeatedly stretched Monaghan at the back.
Monaghan re-grouped and notched 1-2 without reply in the space of three minutes, McManus hammering in the goal and the points by McManus and substitute Dermot Malone moving them four points in front.
It looked like Monaghan would now push on for victory and they seemed to have done enough when they led by three points a minute into stoppage time, but Meath weren’t finished.
Morris capped a brilliant cameo performance with three late points, one from a free, to leave the sides finishing all square at the end of an entertaining contest.
Monaghan: R Beggan (0-1, free); K Duffy (0-1), C Boyle, R Wylie; R McAnespie, F Kelly (0-1), K O’Connell; D Hughes, A Woods; D Ward, M Bannigan (1-0), S O’Hanlon; D Garland, C McCarthy (0-2, one free), C McManus (1-8, three frees). Subs: K Lavelle for A Woods (half-time), C McGuinness for D Garland (41 mins), D Malone (0-1) for M Bannigan (46m), S Carey for S O’Hanlon (47m), K Hughes for C McCarthy (56m).
Meath: A Colgan; S Lavin, C McGill, D Toner; C Hickey, S McEntee, D Keogan (0-1); B Menton (1-0), R Jones (0-1); J Scully (0-1), B McMahon, R Ryan; C O’Sullivan (0-1), S Walsh (0-1), T O’Reilly (0-4, three frees). Subs: J Morris (0-7, three frees, one mark) for C O’Sullivan (25 mins), J Wallace (0-1) for B McMahon (46m), J O’Connor for C Hickey (63m), E Devine for S Walsh (67m).
Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan).