Monaghan 0-14 Derry 1-09

Updated: Sunday, 24 Jun 2007 19:59

Monaghan's John Paul Mone is tackled by Enda Muldoon of Derry
Monaghan's John Paul Mone is tackled by Enda Muldoon of Derry

Monaghan deservedly ended their long wait for an Ulster SFC final appearance by seeing off a poor Derry side by 0-14 to 1-09 at Casement Park today.

15 July will see Monaghan contest their first Ulster final since 1988 when they clash with Tyrone.

Inspired by top-scorer Tommy Freeman, Seamus McEneaney's victors led 0-06 to 0-05 at half-time – having been four points clear in the early stages.

Successive scores from James Conway, Joe Diver and Mark Lynch got pre-match favourites Derry back in touch.

Against the run of play, Paddy Bradley fisted home a 61st minute goal but late points from Rory Woods and Stephen Gollogly saw Monaghan prevail.

The Farneymen's pre-match preparations were hit when Paul Finlay was forced to withdraw due to a virus, meaning Woods, who came on as a substitute in the quarter-final win over Down, gained a starting berth in the half-forwards.

Monaghan's defenders certainly heeded their manager's calls to tighten up their marking with Down having scored 1-15 against them last time out.

But left corner-forward Freeman was drawing the most reaction from the Belfast crowd as he landed four points from play inside the opening quarter-of-an-hour.

The game was only 14 seconds old when Woods knocked down a high ball for Freeman to point. The Magheracloone star was giving his marker Gerard O'Kane a torrid time and was a constant go-to man for the Monaghan attack.

An 18th minute point from the razor-sharp Gollogly saw McEneaney's side open up a 0-06 to 0-02 lead, with only a brace of Conleth Gilligan frees keeping Derry competitive.

But some quick switches from Derry boss Paddy Crozier helped his side reduce the arrears, one of them being replacing Patsy Bradley, who was having a poor day at wing-back, with dual star Liam Hinphey. 

Joe Diver and Fergal Doherty began to get to grips with the midfield sector, feeding the ball through for the Oak Leafers to nab the final three points of the half.

Conway and Diver both bisected the posts from distance, while Lynch made it three on the bounce with another pleasing score from play.

The fact that those points were followed by three Monaghan wides, late in the half, certainly increased their importance.

But Derry had contributed to their own downfall in the first half as their sloppy passing led to Monaghan scores on more than one occasion and stellar forwards Enda Muldoon and Paddy Bradley were largely anonymous between the forty and the edge of the square, registering only one decent shot between them.

The Oak Leafers may even have been down to 14 men by the interval as their captain Kevin McCloy was fortunate not to see red for an off-the-ball challenge on Freeman.

At times, the play was scrappy and there was plenty of niggle in this tie as Leitrim referee Frank Flynn dished out a total of 16 yellow cards - nine to Monaghan and seven to Derry.

Although Gilligan levelled the game by posting the first score of the second half, Monaghan took charge again with Freeman sending over a brace of points.

Now backed by the wind, Derry were certainly more competitive in the second period with Bradley and Conway tacking on points but white flags from Freeman again and Gollogly (0-02) handed Monaghan a 0-12 to 0-08 lead with only 13 minutes left.

To their credit, Crozier's men never gave up hope and they plundered an unlikely goal four minutes later when Bradley flicked the ball to the left corner of the Monaghan net after a Conway effort had rebounded off the post.

Yet with Vincent Corey and Gary McQuaid defending with great aplomb in the closing stages, Monaghan failed to panic at 0-12 to 1-08 and points from Woods (63 minutes) and Gollogly (65) were enough to seal their tenth win over Derry in 23 Championship clashes.

Derry: B Gillis; M McGoldrick, K McCloy (capt), G O'Kane; Patsy Bradley, SM Lockhart, C McKeever; F Doherty, J Conway (0-02); Paddy Bradley (1-02, 0-01f), C Gilligan (0-03, 0-03f), J Diver (0-01); R Wilkinson, E Muldoon, M Lynch (0-01).

Subs used: L Hinphey for Patsy Bradley (23 mins), B McGoldrick for Wilksinson (56), C Devlin for Doherty (59), P Murphy for Gilligan (60), G Donaghy for Lynch (68).

Monaghan: S Duffy; D Mone, V Corey, D McArdle; D Freeman (capt), G McQuaid, D Morgan; E Lennon, JP Mone; D Clerkin, R Woods (0-03, 0-01f), S Gollogly (0-04); C Hanratty, S Smith, T Freeman (0-07, 0-02f).

Subs used: C McManus for Morgan (half-time), H McElroy for Smith (45 mins), P Meegan for Hanratty (62), D Hughes for Gollogly (70+3).

Referee: Frank Flynn (Leitrim).