Monaghan recover from slow start to beat Fermanagh and reach McKenna Cup semi-finals

Goals key as Vinney Corey’s side go through as section-winners

Stephen O'Hanlon Stephen O'Hanlon scored a goal in Monaghan's win over Fermanagh

Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup Section C, round three Fermanagh 0-12 Monaghan 2-9

MONAGHAN made it two wins out of two as they shrugged off a slow start to run out three-point victors over Fermanagh.

The home side had started the brighter and led by four points on a couple of occasions in the first half, but an Andrew Woods goal saw Vinny Corey’s side go in level at the break.

And the away side had the better of the second-half exchanges, with Stephen O’Hanlon’s 56th-minute goal sending them to the win.

Fermanagh dictated matters over the opening quarter as they dominated possession. Having won the throw-in at the start of the game the Ernemen kept the ball for two minutes before Ultan Kelm slotted over the opening point.

The home side displayed a lot of patience in the early stages and they doubled their lead as Shane McGullion ushered Conor Love in from the right and he blasted over.

Brandon Horan then followed up with a terrific point from distance and not to be outdone, his midfield partner Tiernan Bogue rattled over a fine effort to make it 0-4 to 0-0 after 14 minutes.

Monaghan landed their first score of the contest in the 15th minute as Jason Irwin clipped over after a good break and this was quickly followed by a superb point from long range by goalkeeper Darren McDonnell.

Fermanagh, though, continued to shade things and Kelm rattled over a free and a point from play either side of a mark by the Farney’s Kevin Sheridan.

When Garvan Jones then converted a free from the right sideline it pushed Fermanagh back into a four-point lead but Monaghan hit back over the closing stages of the half as Stephen Mooney knocked over a mark before Andrew Woods palmed to the net to level up matters.

A flowing move by the visitors involving Francie Hughes and Gary Mohan saw them slice through the Fermanagh defence with the ball fed across the goal for Woods to touch home to make it 0-7 to 1-4.

Fermanagh did have a great chance for a goal of their own at the end of the half but substitute Sean Cassidy shot wide after a Jones free came off the upright as it remained level at the interval.

Monaghan got their noses in front for the first time in the game as Barry McBennett pointed although Fermanagh replied as Jones palmed over.

The sides again traded scores as Woods and Erne goalkeeper Ross Bogue fired over before Kelm nudged the home side back ahead from a free.

However, Monaghan answered this with a point from Joel Wilson before they bagged their second goal. There was a touch of fortune in O’Hanlon’s effort as his attempt for a point dropped into the net with Bogue caught out of position as he tried to get back into goal after a Fermanagh attack had broken down.

Fermanagh did close to within two points as Conor McGee rifled over but Kieran Donnelly’s charges had to finish the game with 14 men as Tiarnan Bogue was black-carded after a challenge on Jack McCarron from which Mooney converted a free.

Jones did keep Fermanagh within touching distance with a good score but Monaghan were not to be denied and Wilson notched his second point as he fisted over to leave three in it at the final whistle.

Fermanagh R Bogue 0-1; JJ O’Brien, C Cullen, L Cullen; P McGovern, O Smyth, C McManus; B Horan 0-1, T Bogue 0-1; R Lyons, S McGullion, D McCusker; U Kelm 0-4 (2f), G Jones 0-3 (1f), C Love 0-1

Subs S Cassidy for Love (23), C McShea for McGovern (h/t), C McGee 0-1 for Lyons (h/t), O Murphy for McManus (60), A Breen for Kelm (63), D Owens for McGullion (75)

Monaghan D McDonnell 0-1; B Walker, K Lavelle, K Loughran; C Lennon, K Duffy, K Sheridan 0-1 (m); F Hughes, G Mohan; C McNulty, S O’Hanlon 1-0, B McBennett 0-1; A Woods 1-1, S Mooney 0-2 (1m, 1f), J Irwin 0-1

Subs C McCarthy for Duffy (34), M McCarville for Hughes (h/t), M Hamill for Irwin (40), J Wilson 0-2 for Mohan (44), J McCarron for Woods (55), D Treanor for McCarron (68)

Referee Ryan Walsh (Donegal)