Ulster MFC final: Monaghan bridge 68-year gap

July 21, 2013

Shea Hamill of Tyrone with Monaghan's Adam Treanor.
©INPHO/Donall Farmer.
Monaghan 4-10
Tyrone 2-14

Monaghan have been crowned Ulster minor football champions for the first time since 1945 following an amazing finish to the decider against Tyrone at Clones.

For most of the game, reigning champions Tyrone looked to be on course for their eighth provincial title since 2001, but following the dismissal of goal-scorer Ruairi McGinn on a second yellow card in the closing stages, they fell apart as Monaghan stormed back to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

The never-say-die home side had whittled down Tyrone's lead to two points when they were awarded a soft penalty which top-scorer Feargal McMahon converted to give them the lead for the first time. Donal Meegan quickly followed up with the insurance point to spark the biggest celebrations St. Tiernach's Park has seen in a long time.

The holders, who led by 1-9 to 2-1 at the break, signalled their intent with a Conor McKenna point straight from the throw-in. By the eighth minute, they had eased into a 0-5 to 0-0 lead thanks to further minors from Lee Brennan (two), Ronan Nugent and Daire Gallagher.

Ryan McAnespie eventually opened Monaghan's account in the 10th minute, only for Brennan and David Mulgrew to reply with further Tyrone scores. The challengers got themselves back into it, however, in the 17th minute when Feargal McMahon goaled.

Brennan responded with a free before the margin was reduced to just two points, 2-1 to 0-9, in the 26th minute when Barry McGinn grabbed a second Monaghan goal. But on the stroke of half-time, Eglish clubman McKenna responded with a fisted goal to give the Red Hands a five-point cushion.

Early second half points from Donal Meegan and McMahon saw Monaghan cut the gap to three points before Stephen McGrath replied.

When Ruairi McGlone scored an excellent goal in the 36th minute and Brennan and McKenna followed up with points to leave Tyrone perched on a 2-12 to 2-4 advantage, the Farney looked to be down and out, but they refused to accept defeat as McMahon responded with a brace of frees.

Further points from Frank Burns and Padraig McGirr restored Tyrone's eight-point lead before Barry McGinn bagged his second goal to leave five points in it, 3-7 to 2-14, with 12 minutes remaining.

Conor McCarthy and McMahon had further points for Monaghan before McMahon's late penalty edged them ahead for the first time. And Meegan's injury-time point completed a remarkable comeback.

Monaghan will now meet Tipperary in the All-Ireland quarter-finals, while Tyrone will get another chance against Munster kingpins Kerry.

Monaghan - C Forde; S Treanor, K Loughrin, C Martin; A Kieran, A Curran, M Murnaghan; N Loughman, D McAlister; D Ward, R McAnespie (0-1), A Treanor; C McCarthy (0-1), F McMahon (2-6, 1-0 pen, 5f), M O'Dowd. Subs: B McGinn (2-0) for M O'Dowd, D Meegan (0-2) for N Loughman, D Gleeson for A Treanor, P McArdle for M Murnaghan.

Tyrone - S Fox; C Byrne, R Quinn, C McCann; S Hamill, C Morris, P McGirr (0-1); R Nugent (0-1), F Burns (0-1); D Mulgrew (0-1), C McKenna (1-3), D Gallagher (0-1); L Brennan (0-5, 3f), R McGlone (1-0), S McGrath (0-1). Subs: M Lynn for D Gallagher, R McHugh for R Nugent, C O'Donnell for S McGrath, E McElroy for R Quinn, S Fox for C Byrne.

Referee - B Rice.

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