Monaghan 0-10, Down 1-6.
Monaghan got their Ulster minor football league campaign off to the best possible start with this hard-working display and hard fought victory over Down in a very entertaining and totally absorbing encounter in Pairc Esler, Newry on Saturday last. As the first official competitive outing of the year for both sides this was a game that produced some fine passages of play and a number of brilliant individual performances on both sides. It was also a game that produced some scrappy play and mistakes abounded on both sides but there is plenty to indicate that these sides will improve and strengthen as the season moves on. Down got off to much the better start and could well have taken a substantial lead in the opening 10 minutes but poor finishing saw a series of chances for goals and points simply squandered. Monaghan too were wasteful at times and spurned three clear-cut goal chances throughout the match but these are aspects of play that the backroom teams will be able to work on. The sides went in level at the break, Down 0-5, Monaghan 0-5 and the leads changed hand on a couple of occasion in a very pacy second half before Monaghan took a late lead through Conor Boyle. .
Down now threw everything into attack to try and salvage the situation but the Monaghan defence inspired by Johnny McGuigan held firm although there was a touch of good fortune when one goal attempt by Down rebounded off a Monaghan defender for an abortive ’45 to leave Monaghan winners by a single point at the final whistle. Monaghan finished the game with 14 players following the seconds yellow card dismissal of Patrick Finnegan some ten minutes before the end.
Teams and Scorers: Monaghan: P Garland, R Wylie, J McGuigan, F Malone, P Keenan 0-1, P McKenna 0-1, B Greenan, C Boyle 0-1, P Finnegan, C McKenna, C Cromwell, M McGuirk 0-1, P Greene 0-1, M Boyce, T Kerr 0-5 (3f). Subs: M Galligan for C McKenna, F McGeough for P Greene, J Hand for M Boyce, A Treanor for M McGuirk.
Down: R Miskelly, D O’Hanlon, M Hughes, S Cochrane, D O’Hanlon 0-1, R Mullen 0-1, C McLaughlin, C McCartan, O Clarke, C Doran 1-3 (0-2f), D Doyle, J Barr, J Scannell, P Murdock, O Lynch 0-1. Subs: S Harrison for J Barr, N McPolin for P Murdock, P Kelly for D O’Hanlon, R McAlinden for D Doyle. Referee: C O’Hagan