Monaghan edge past Down for second consecutive win

The loss leaves Down rooted to the bottom of Division One

Shay McArdle of Down and Kieran Duffy of Monaghan during their Allianz League Division One match. Photo: Andrew Paton/Inpho

Shay McArdle of Down and Kieran Duffy of Monaghan during their Allianz League Division One match. Photo: Andrew Paton/Inpho

 

Monaghan 0-13 Down 0-11

Monaghan just about held out in a frenetic finish to this hugely entertaining contest to make it two wins from two outings.

But they were pushed all the way by a resurgent Down who were a transformed side from their opening game when they suffered a 17 points drubbing by Donegal in Newry.

Down put all that behind them as they hit the ground running, putting in a bright start to dominate the opening quarter at the end of which they led by five points to three, thanks to Connaire Harrison with three, two from frees and Daragh O’Hanlon with one as Monaghan struggled particularly around midfield.

Monaghan, who opened their account in the seventh minute through Shane Carey, improved considerably in the second quarter and in a purple patch between the 17th and 24th minutes they turned the game around completely to overrun the opposition, hitting six points without reply, two by Conor McManus, one from a free, Ryan McAnespie, Thomas Kerr, Dermot Malone and Owen Duffy.

Down pulled back a point through Shay McArdle but Monaghan finished the half with an excellent point from Fintan Kelly to leave the half-time score Monaghan 0-9 to Down’s 0-6.

On the resumption Monaghan picked up where they had left off and by the 13th minute they had extended their lead to five points thanks to Shane Carey and an excellent strike from Ryan McAnespie.

An exchange of points between Darragh O’Hanlon from a free and goalkeeper Rory Beggan from a 45 kept the margin at five points and Monaghan looking well in control.

From there to the finish though, they were fighting a rearguard action as a resurgent down carried the game to them and punished them for a number of errors.

Points by Darragh O’Hanlon and substitute Paddy Downey with his first touch brought the margin down to three entering the final 10 minutes but Monaghan still looked reasonably comfortable when a point by substitute Daniel McKenna pushed them four clear with five minutes of normal time remaining.

That though was to be Monaghan’s final score as Down now threw everything into attack and pushed them to the limit with points by substitute Mark McKay and Connaire Harrison from a free brought the margin down to two with five minutes of stoppage time to play.

Conor McManus spurned a chance from a free to push Monaghan three clear while at the other end Harrison was off target from very scoreable free that would have reduced the margin to the minimum and left for an even more nervous finish for the home side than it was.

Monaghan: R Beggan 0-1 (‘45), C Walshe, C Boyle, D Wylie, R McAnespie 0-2, K Duffy, F Kelly 0-1, N McAdam, D Hughes, K O’Connell, D Malone 0-1, T Kerr 0-1, S Carey 0-2, O Duffy 0-2, C McManus 0-2 (1f). Subs: R Wylie for C Boyle (48), D McKenna 0-1 for O Duffy (55), K Hughes for K O’Connell (56), S Gollogly for D Malone (65), D Mone for F Kelly (74).

Down: S Kane, R Boyle, G McGovern, M Magee, M Hughes, A Carr, D O’Hanlon 0-3(1f), P Turley, H Brown, J Murphy, M Poland, K McKernan, c McGovern, C Harrison 0-4 (3f), S McArdle 0-2. Subs: S Dornan for M Poland (40), P Downey 0-1 for S McArdle (56), L Howard for M Hughes (57), R Mallon for J Murphy (63), M McKay 0-1 for P Turley (66).

Referee: C Reilly (Meath).

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