Monaghan Pass Fermanagh Qualifier Test

Conor McCarthy’s late goal secured Monaghan a place in round two of the qualifiers after a close derby victory over Fermanagh 1-10 to 1-6 in Clones.

Monaghan didn’t have it their own way and similar to their Ulster championship were caught flat footed early on, Ryan Lyons finding the Monaghan net after five minutes.

A Lyons point and another Fermanagh score from Daniel Teague, with Niall Kerans responding saw Fermanagh lead 1-2 to 0-1 after 17 minutes.

Monaghan got going however, Ryan McAnespie, Kieran Hughes (2), Rory Beggan and Vinny Corey all posted Monaghan points as they led 0-6 to 1-2 at half-time.

Conor McManus (free) and Kieran Duffy slotted scores at the start of the second half, making it seven unanswered points for the Malachy O’Rourke’s men.

McManus cancelled out Declan McCusker’s point and the momentum seemed to shift in favour of the hosts at the three-quarters stage when Beggan saved Sean Quigley’s penalty before Lee Cullen was shown a straight red card.

But Quigley chipped over the resulting ‘45’ to reduce the arrears to the minimum and a nervy denouement was ensured when Farney talisman McManus was black-carded.

The 14 men didn’t give up Conall Jones’ fisted point, leaving one between the teams with seven minutes remaining.

Substitute Jack McCarron doubled the difference from a 30th-minute free. Ciaran Corrigan pointed two minutes from the end.

Sean Quigley missed a pressure free from a tight angle on the wrong side drifted wide in the third of five added minutes as Fermanagh strained to get level.

Monaghan sealed victory after a dreadful restart in the 74th minute, Darrem Hughes latched onto the ball as the defender hesitated, then picked out Conor McCarthy, who palmed the ball to the net for the clinching score.

Fermanagh lost their cool and finished the game with 12 men as James McMahon and Paul McCusker were both sent-off right at the end.

Monaghan: R Beggan (0-01, f); K Duffy (0-01), V Corey (0-01), R Wylie; K O’Connell, C Boyle, D Ward; N Kearns, K Hughes (0-02); R McAnespie (0-01), D Malone, S Carey; C McCarthy (0-01), F Kelly, C McManus (0-02, 1f).

Subs: J McCarron (0-01, f) for Carey (46), D Mone for Ward (51), D Wylie for Corey (57), S O’Hanlon for McManus (BC 59), M Banningan for Malone (65)

Fermanagh: J McGrath; J Cassidy, C Cullen, L Cullen; U Kelm, J McMahon, K Connor; A Breen, R Jones; D Teague (0-01), R Lyons (1-01, 0-01f), C Corrigan (0-01); D McCusker (0-01), C Jones (0-01), B Mulrone.

Subs: S Quigley (0-01, f) for Teague (35), K McDonnell for Mulrone (42), P McCusker for Breen (61), D McGurn for Connor (66), S McGullion for McDonnell (68), C McBrien for Lyons (72)

Referee: M Deegan (Laois)