Ulster MFC: Monaghan edge Tyrone to retain title
Karl Gallagher and Jason Irwin inspire first back-to-back success since the 1940s
Monaghan 1-13 Tyrone 1-11
Holders Monaghan retained their Ulster MFC title in a gripping decider at the Athletic Grounds on Sunday.
But they were almost made to pay for wastefulness as they shot 17 wides, including a dozen in the second half.
But with Karl Gallagher and Jason Irwin displaying their outstanding talents, they were fully deserving of this success, the first back-to-back at Minor level for the county since the 1940s.
It was Tyrone who pushed ahead early on with scores from Luke Donnelly and Mark Devlin, but Monaghan hit five in a row to go two ahead, with Darragh Dempsey hitting a couple of gems.
Donnelly brought the sides level, but it was the holders who edged ahead through Dempsey to lead by 0-9 to 0-8 at the break.
But Michael McGleenan applied a stunning start to the second half, seizing possession from the throw-in to charge through the middle and drill a low shot to the net past Joe Kirk.
Back came the champions, and they were back in front in the 43rd minute when Michael Hamill rose highest to field Conor McKernan’s punched assist, turn and plant his shot in the net from close range for a lead they never lost.
Monaghan: J Kirk; S Slevin (0-1), R Boyle, S Hanratty; C Maguire, E Duffy (0-1), D Treanor; C McKernan, K Gallagher (0-1); K Connolly (0-1), D Marron (0-1), M Hamill (1-1); D Dempsey (0-5, one free, 45), J Irwin (0-2), L McDonald. Subs: T Kierans for Marron (41 min), D Kerley for McKernan (62)
Tyrone: F Coney; C Cuddy, M McCann, S Sweeney; J Donaghy, N Devlin, S O’Donnell (0-1); S Donaghy, M McGleenan (1-1); R Campbell, M Devlin (0-3, 1 ‘45), S Daly; A McGrath, D Fullerton (0-1), L Donnelly (0-4, two frees). Subs: S Gallagher for Donaghy (4 min4), R Canavan for Donnelly (48), C Daly (0-1) for M Devlin (50), R McHugh for Campbell (60), E Neill for O’Donnell (60)
Referee: D Mullan (Derry).