/ GAA

Dublin leave it late to secure win over Monaghan

By Paul Keane | Updated: Sunday, 28 Feb 2016 01:00 | Comments

Dublin's James McCarthy gets away from the challenge of Monaghan's Shane Carey
Dublin's James McCarthy gets away from the challenge of Monaghan's Shane Carey

Dublin 1-14 Monaghan 0-16

Dublin's bid for four Allianz football league titles in a row remains firmly on track after moving two points clear at the head of Division 1, until tomorrow afternoon at least, with victory over Monaghan at Croke Park.

Donegal can join the holders on six points with a win over Mayo but, for now, Dublin are alone at the top with Bernard Brogan's injury-time winner ensuring that they maintained their 100% start to the campaign.

Dublin almost threw victory away in front of 17,080, however, as they let slip a five-point lead early in the second-half to trail by one with 68 minutes on the clock.

It appeared at that stage as if Conor McManus' 12 points would prove decisive for the Ulster champions who battled gamely.

But a Cormac Costello leveller for Dublin set up the platform for Brogan, who appeared as a substitute in the second-half for his first appearance of 2016, to kick the winner in injury-time.

Monaghan set up quite defensively with just a two-man full-forward line of McManus and Darren Hughes and the ploy worked a treat initially.

Dublin struggled at Croke Park in last year's league when Derry and Tyrone set up in similar fashion and they were overwhelmed by Monaghan's pace and purpose in the first 20 minutes.

Captain McManus was a class apart for Monaghan and picked David Byrne's pockets for five points before the game was 25 minutes old.

McManus performed well when being marked by Dublin defender Byrne in last year's league semi-final too.

He laid down an early marker this time by drawing a foul off Byrne in the second minute and converting it. He then escaped Byrne for two fine points from play from the right wing.

Monaghan counter attacked with pace and purpose and kicked five points without reply at one stage to move 0-07 to 0-02 ahead.

Dublin were struggling to stay in the game and perhaps wondered if they may rue the absence of icons like Ciaran Kilkenny, Michael Darragh Macauley and Jack McCaffrey.

But the All-Ireland holders don't do panic and had the margin back down to a manageable two-point deficit within a matter of minutes.

Dublin took control from the 20th minute onwards and forced Monaghan to concede a number of frees which Rock expertly converted, some from tricky angles.

Rock's sixth point of the half deep into stoppage time helped Dublin to take the lead for the first time and they held a 0-10 to 0-09 half-time advantage.

Diarmuid Connolly's 42nd minute penalty conversion put Dublin into a great position and they would move 1-11 to 1-09 clear.

But they surprisingly took their foot off the gas and McManus took his tally into double figures with a series of excellent free conversions but the Farney County still came up just short.

Dublin: S Cluxton; David Byrne, M Fitzsimons, P McMahon (0-02), J McCarthy, C O'Sullivan, J Small; D Bastick, E O'Conghaile (0-01); P Flynn (0-01), D Connolly (1-0), pen, T Brady; P Andrews, D Rock (0-07, 0-06f), C Costello (0-02).

Subs: S Carthy for Bastick, B Brogan for Flynn (temp), J Cooper for Fitzsimons, Brogan (0-01) for Brady, P Ryan for Rock, B Fenton for O Conghaile, S Carthy (St Vincent's) for Connolly.

Monaghan: R Beggan; R Wylie, D Wylie, C Walshe; K Duffy (0-01), F Kelly, N McAdam; K Hughes (0-02), K O'Connell; S Carey, D Malone, T Kerr; O Duffy (0-01), D Hughes, C McManus (0-12, 0-09f).

Subs: D Mone for K Hughes, C Boyle for R Wylie, R McAnespie for Duffy, C McCarthy for Malone, D McKenna for Carey.

Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).

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