Monaghan began their Division One National football league campaign with a brilliant 1-11 to 0-12 win over 2016 All Ireland Beaten finalists Mayo in McHale Park this evening. Darren Hughes got the goal for the Farney side at the start of the second half while Sharpshooter Conor McManus kicked six points to help them on their way to victory at the start of their third straight season in the top tier of the competition.
Malachy ORourkes side had a blisterning start and led their hosts by 0-0 5 to 0-1 after 20 minutes . The Ulster men followed up Fergal Bohans opener with four points from Conor McManus including 3 frees and a 45 after 12 minutes and Darren Hughes pointing in the 20th minute. the last fifteen minutes of the half belonged to Mayo with two points from Regan and one apiece from OConnor, McLoughlin and Freeman leaving Monaghan trailing by 0-6 to 0-0-5 at the break. A couple of minutes into the second half came the games decisive moment when Scotstowns Darren Hughes brilliantly finished the ball to the net Thomas Kerr played a long ball to find McManus who in turn broke away from his man before playing in Hughes and Monaghan returned to the lead. Heres the goal as described by Shannonside Northernsounds Alan Gunn.
Over the next few minutes Mayos Cillian OConnor scored couple of frees but a Thomas Kerr point and a fantastic successful 60 metre effort from Goalkeeper Rory Beggan gave Monaghan a three point advantage.
A Conor McManus score from play put them four ahead before the westerners got two more through their marksman Cillian OConnor. in the 60th minute- the challenge got tougher for Monaghan when Karl OConnell was dismissed for his second yellow card. However this didn’t deter Gavin Doogan getting a point and restoring a one goal lead. Cillain OConnor got back on the act again with two more points to ensure Monaghan were in for a turbulent landing but a brillant Conor McManus point from near the sideline brought Monaghan a great away win and the perfect start to their 2017 league campaign. Heres Shannonside Northern Sounds Alan Gunn and Nudie Hughes describing the final point of the match.
Monaghan host Cavan in a round two local derby in Castleblayney next Sunday afternoon. Cavan kick their campaign off tomorrow in a match you can hear live on Northern Sound.
Meanwhile the Monaghan ladies will be hoping to make it two nil against their Connacht opponents as they take on Mayo in Division one of the national football league tomorrow.