Monaghan made an impressive start to their Division 3 campaign in the Allianz National hurling league with a 3-15 to 1-11 point victory over Tyrone in a sunny but blustery Healy park in Omagh on Sunday.
Both sides were level after 7 minutes with Fergal Rafter and Damien Casey exchanging scores, but an 11 minute purple patch for the farney side yielded a goal and 5 points which was to give the visitors a platform that ensured they took all 2 points on offer.
Donal Meegan with 2 points sandwiched either side of scores from Fergal Rafter and Martin Murphy were added to by a goal and a point from Brian Mc Guigan, the goal in the 21st minute coming of the back of a brave block from Sean Leonard on Tyrone’s Brendan Buckley with the sliothar breaking to Donal Meegan who’s effort was parried by goalkeeper Paddy Mc Killion but Mc Guigan pounced on the breaking ball and finished to the net. Straight from the next puck out, Monaghan won possession and Brian Mc Guigan added a point from distance to leave it 1-06 to a point after 23 minutes.
That however was to be Monaghan’s last score of the half with Tyrone taking control and reeling off 4 unanswered points from Justin Kelly, Ryan McKernan, Damien Casey and Tiarnan Morgan, indeed the half time whistle was a relief for Monaghan to stem the flow of scores while for Tyrone it perhaps came at the wrong time.
The 2nd half seen Monaghan settle one more with Donal Meegan firing over his 4th and 5th points of the afternoon in the opening minute, the first from a 65 metre free and the second from play. While Damien Casey who was the Red hands may scoring threat did reply, further points from the inform Meegan along with Mark Treanor and Fergal Rafter had Trevor Hilliard side once again in control as the 3rd quarter ended with the visitors 1-11 to 0-06 points up.
Damien Casey continued to keep Tyrone on the score board with a 65 after his 20 metre free was brilliant cleared of the line by full back Patrick Finnegan.
Monaghan’s 2nd goal was to come in the 56th minute and again Brian Finnegan pounced when the Tyrone defence came under pressure, a long free in from opposing goalkeeper Hugh Byrne, seen Paddy Mc Killion spill the ball and with a number of players pulling on the ball, it was Mc Guigan who bundled it over the line to leave it 2-11 to 0-07 points. That passage of play also seen Mc Killion go off with what appeared to be leg injury and replaced by John Devlin in the Tyrone goal.
Once again the home side rattled off 4 points without reply, Damien Casey with 2 from play and 1 free, while Justin Kelly also fired over a free. Donal Meegan and Eanna Mac Suibhne steadied the ship once more for Monaghan and while Damien Casey’s hard work did finally yield a goal in the 34th minute, that was immediately cancelled out at the other end when referee Colum Cunning of Antrim made good use of the advantage rule after a foul on Donal Meegan to allow play continue with Sean Leonard finishing to the net.
Monaghan wrapped up the scoring with Donal Meegan completing his 7 point haul, while Tadhg Campbell fired over with the last puck of the game to make it a 3-15 to 1-11 victory.
Next up for Monaghan is Donegal next Sunday in Castleblayney, the Tir Chonaill side registering a 2-23 to 1-14 over Louth
MONAGHAN :- Hugh Byrne, Jamie Guinan, Patrick Finnegan, Brian Flanagan, Beranrd Connor, Peter Treanor, Martin Murphy (0-01), Éanna MacSuibhne (0-01F), Mark Treanor (0-01), Fergal Rafter (0-03), Sean Leonard (1-00), Colm Meegan, Donal Meegan (0-07 4F), Tadhg Campbell (0-01), Brian Mc Guigan (2-01)
Subs Used :- Padraig Gartland for Jamie Guinan, Conor Boyle for Bernard Connor, Stephen Forde for Sean Leonard.
TYRONE :- Paddy Mc Killion, Ruairi Devlin, Brendan Begley, Mike O’Gorman, Aidan Kelly, Stephen Donnelly, Tiarnan Morgan (0-01), Justin Kelly (0-02 1F), Dermot Begley, Christopher Cross, Damien Casey (1-07 4F), Conor Grogan, Ryan McKernan (0-01), Sean Og Grogan, Peadar Daly.
Subs Used :- John Devlin for Paddy McKillion, Dean Rafferty for Ruairi Devlin, Duibhir Marshall for Ryan Mc Kernan, Pierse O’Kelly for Peadar Daly.