ESB Ulster Minor Football Championship First Round
Tyrone 0-15 Monaghan 1-5 29/5/11
Monaghan were knocked out of the Ulster MFC by Tyrone in Sunday’s first-round game in Enniskillen. Monaghan got off on the front foot in both halves, but they were unable to build on it and Tyrone ran out deserving winners. Tyrone hit nine unanswered points to take control in the first half and after Monaghan started the second half with a flourish, helped by a goal from substitute Mark McGuirk, the reigning Ulster and All-Ireland champions added five-in-a-row in a 15-minute spell to put the result beyond doubt. Seán Hackett, Seán Molloy, Matthew Heagney, Philip Barker and Conor McAleer impressed for Tyrone. McGuirk, Johnny McGuigan, Conor Boyle, Ryan Wylie and Pádraic Keenan were best for Monaghan, whose chances were hit by injuries to Pádraig McKenna, who missed out altogether, as well as Thomas Kerr and Patrick Finnegan, who both got injured in the first half.
Monaghan made a flying start and they made a goal chance in the first minute when Fergal McGeough, Brian Greenan and Pádraic Keenan combined to release Conor Lavelle, but the big Clontibret man’s shot was blocked by Seán Molloy. Monaghan got the first point of the game through Conor Boyle, after a clever pass by Thomas Kerr, and they quickly added a second point through McGeough, following a high ball in by Killian Rudden. Matthew Heagney got Tyrone off the mark with a good point on five minutes and they drew level when Darren McCurry tapped over a 13-metre free for a foul on Cahir McCullagh.
Tyrone temporary sub Daniel McNulty made an immediate impact by pointing a ’45 and he added a great score from play after taking a pass from McCurry, who then converted a 20-metre free after Fergal Malone had been adjudged to have thrown the ball. Ryan Devlin put four between the teams after a strong run by Molloy, before McCurry kicked a nice point after a short free from Niall Donaghy. Seán Hackett kicked the last two points of the first half to give Tyrone a seven-point lead at half-time (0-9 to 0-2).
Like in the first half, Monaghan got off to a great start as they hit 1-2 without reply in the first eight minutes, while another goal chance went untaken when Mel Boyce raced through onto a pass from McGeough, only for his effort to be denied by a great save from Tyrone keeper Mark McReynolds. Monaghan sub Mark McGuirk converted a brace of 20-metre frees after fouls on Johnny McGuigan and Keenan and he added a superb goal when he linked up with McGuigan and fired in a cracking shot, which left McReynolds with no chance.
Tyrone responded with a point from Hackett, who had been well-placed by Heagney, and Hackett then won a 13-metre free which was converted by sub Enda McGahan. Heagney kicked a controversial point, which was awarded by the umpires even though it looked to have gone wide, before McGahan won and scored a 30-metre free. McNulty, who had been reintroduced as a full sub, booted over a huge free from 55 metres after a foul on Devlin, to give Tyrone a double-scores lead. McGuirk won and scored a 25-metre free for Monaghan, but a Hackett free restored the seven-point gap. Niall Donaghy was sent off in injury-time after he was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Keenan, who had a goal-attempt blocked by Conor McAleer late on. Tyrone will play Cavan in the semi-finals, while Monaghan’s long wait for Ulster minor success goes on.
Tyrone: M McReynolds; M Jones, S Molloy, M McAleer; M Heagney (0-2), C McAleer, B Burns; P Barker, N Donaghy; M Cassidy, J Munroe (Capt.), R Devlin (0-1); D McCurry (0-3, 2f), C McCullagh, S Hackett (0-4).
Subs: E McGahan (0-2f) for Cassidy, D McNulty (0-3, 1f, 1 ’45) for Munroe (both 41 mins), R Mayse for McCurry (52), R Brennan for Heagney (58), S Quinn for McGahan (inj., 63).
Temporary Subs: D McNulty for Donaghy (10-12), R Brennan for Jones (29-H-T).
Monaghan: C Forde; F Malone, J McGuigan (Capt.), R Wylie; P Keenan, P Finnegan, C Cromwell; C Boyle (0-1), B Greenan; T Kerr, K Rudden, P Greene; F McGeough (0-1), C Lavelle, M Boyce.
Subs: D Courtney for Finnegan (inj., 29), M McGuirk (1-3, 0-3f) for Kerr (inj., 32).
Referee: A Molloy (Donegal).