A point scoring exhibition by Adrian Alford was a key feature as Clones got over the line against Toome in extra time to clinch victory at the end of this riveting contest that built to an exhilarating finish in Gavan Duffy Park, Monaghan, on Saturday evening last. Alford was unerring from both play and frees, and got great support from Darren Freeman and substitute Colum Connolly also had an influence on the eventual outcome. Toome led at half-time by 0-6 to 0-5, taking the lead for the first time in the twenty eighth minute of the first half. Two goals in the opening three minutes of the second-half as well as a point from a free by Frank Connolly pushed Toome eight points clear and things looked bleak for Clones but they refused to yield and struck back for an unanswered eight points between the tenth and twenty-sixth minute of the second-half, to level the match. Toome retook the lead with a goal with three minutes of normal time remaining, but Clones struck for three late points to force extra time with the score at Clones 0-17, Toome 3-8. Clones led by a point at half-time in extra time and while Toome levelled on the resumption Clones hit four points without reply between the fourth and eighth minutes of the second period of extra time, to open a four points lead and those four points still separated them at the finish, following a late exchange between Frank Connolly and top scorer Adrian Alford.
Clones: C Cadden; F Kelly, P Shiels, B Daly; L Reihill, C Dowd, E Audley; J Mealiff (0-1), F Beggan (0-1); D Holland (0-1), A Alford (0-13, 6f), D Connolly; D Freeman (Capt., 0-4, 3f), C O’Connor, S Quigley.
Subs: C Connolly (0-2) for O’Connor (34 mins), R Rooney (0-1) for Audley (39), M Reihill for D Connolly (44).
Extra-time subs: D McDermott for Quigley, E McEntee for Mealiff.
Toome: S Murphy; G Connolly, J Murphy, M McMahon; D Friskey, S Lambe, G Wilson (1-1); S McMahon (0-2, 1f, 1 ‘45), S McCooey; L McCooey (0-2, 1f), F Connolly (0-5f), J Gorman (2-0); H Connolly, C Quinn (Capt.), J Wilson (0-2, 1f).
Subs: K McCooey for Quinn (51), C McCooey for K McCooey (black card, 60).
Extra-time subs: C Quinn for C McCooey (9), J McMahon for G Wilson (inj., H-T).
Referee: H McKenna (Monaghan Harps).