Conor McManus helps Monaghan beat Cavan to set up Down clash

In a weekend of local rivals clashing, a late Conor McManus goal proved decisive as Monaghan advanced in the Ulster championship defeating a battling Cavan side.

Conditions were not the best at Kingspan Breffni park with both sides having to play under strong winds and heavy rain. Neil McDermott and Owen Duffy scoring a point apiece in the first five minutes in what was a cagey game in the opening stages that was obviously not helped by the conditions the players were under. Cian Mackey shortly after scored a point for Cavan leaving them in front by a point in the opening ten minutes.

Halfway through the first half with the sides level, Duffy went through on goal but his effort was blocked by Padraig Faulkner. Cavan finished the half strong with points from James McEnroe and Gearoid McKernan putting the Lake County ahead by two 0-9 to 0-7 at half time.

At resumption, the dangerous Duffy pointed for Monaghan. Martin Reilly fizzed over a free in response but Monaghan cut the league down by one through a Jack McCarron point and then were level when Duffy pointed with the assist of the crossbar. The game continued to be tight with Cavan once again stretching their lead out to two but every time the game looked to be swaying in Cavan’s favour, Monaghan had a reply.

The vital score happened with just over ten minutes to go when the brilliant Owen Duffy who was involved with everything that was positive with Monaghan, found Conor McManus who then went past Conor Moynagh with ease and the finishing superbly past Cavan goalie Raymond Galligan. McManus goal was the first time in the game that Monaghan had a two-point cushion in the game. Duffy then added his fourth point of the game to stretch the lead to three.

Cavan desperately looked to score the equalising goal and almost achieved it when Ryan Connolly hit the post with the last kick of the game. Cavan will be disappointed not to have built up a bigger lead with the wind advantage in the first half but should be happy with their performance. Monaghan march on to the Ulster semi-final against Down after a hard-fought win in Kingspan Breffni Park.

Monaghan: 1 R Beggan (0-3, two 45s, one free); 4 R Wylie, 3 D Wylie, 2 F Kelly; 9 K O’Connell, 6 V Corey, 5 C Walsh (capt) (0-1); 8 K Hughes, 7 N McAdam; 10 G Doogan, 17 K Duffy, 23 O Duffy (0-4); 14 J McCarron (0-1), 15 C McManus (1-4, two frees), 22 D Malone. Subs: 24 R McAnespie for Doogan (half time), 13 C McCarthy (0-2) for Malone (42 mins), 12 D Ward for Duffy (52 mins), 19 D Mone for D Wylie (68 mins), 21 D Hughes for McCarron (68 mins), 11 S Carey for Duffy (72 mins, black card)

Cavan: 1 R Galligan; 2 P Faulkner, 3 K Clarke (capt), 4 N Murray; 5 J McEnroe (0-1); 6 C Moynagh (0-1), 7 G Smith; 8 L Buchanan (0-1), 9 G McKiernan (0-1); 10 C Mackey (0-3), 11 C Madden, 12 M Reilly (0-1, a free); 13 N Clerkin, 14 N McDermott (0-3, all frees), 15 S Johnston (0-4, all frees). Subs: 20 C Brady for Madden (26 mins), 26 D McVeety for Buchanan (half time), 22 R Connolly for McDermott (53 mins), 23 J Dillon for Clerkin, 17 J McLoughlin for McEnroe (both 64 mins), C O’Reilly for Murray (72 mins).

Referee: Patrick Neilan (Roscommon)

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