Monaghan carved out a four points win over Tyrone at Castleblayney to get their NFL Division One challenge up and running, Karl O'Connell’s second half goal giving them the edge over an off-colour opponent.

The Farney men, with O’Connell, Dermot Malone and Conor McCarthy turning in impressive displays, were much brighter and livelier than their Ulster opponents, who were somewhat flattered by the margin of defeat.

It was an important result for new boss Seamus McEnaney, who had watched his side lose narrowly to Galway a week earlier, and for Tyrone, the continued absence of Allstar full forward Cathal McShane pointed to the likelihood of his departure for an AFL career.

McCarthy and Conor McManus had the home side two clear inside the opening five minutes, but the tone was set for a cagey first half, with both sides retreating into a defensive set up when not in possession. 

Kieran McGeary curled over a point to bring the Red Hands level on 12 minutes, but the home side hit the lead again at the end of the opening quarter when Darren Hughes sent midfield partner Niall Kearns in for a score. 

Confronted with 15 Tyrone defenders, Monaghan were turned over on a number of occasions before they finally found a way to unlock the opposition defence,.

It was defender Conor Boyle, timing his late run to find pockets of space that provided the key. He popped over a point and won the free that that Jack McCarthy converted for a two points lead.

Niall Morgan's uncontested kick-outs were the launchpad for the Tyrone raids that saw Frank Burns and Darren McCurry find the range, but it was Monaghan who produced the only goal chance of the opening half.

Dermot Malone was sent through by a tidy interplay involving Kieran Hughes and McCarron, but his shot was deflected out for a ’45 by Hugh Pat McGeary.

Monaghan led by 0-7 to 0-6 at the break, and despite having Darren Hughes was in the sin-bin from just before the turnaround, they stunned the Red Hands with a 44th minute goal.

It was Dermot Malone who forced the turnover, launching a counter-attack which saw Boyle send Karl O’Connell in to finish first-time to the bottom corner of the net.

The loss of Ronan McNamee to injury unsettled the Tyrone defence, and with Karl O’Connell and Conor McCarthy and the hard-working Malone beginning to express themselves, Monaghan stamped their authority on the contest.

McCarthy slotted over a couple of stylish scores, with substitute Aaron Mulligan also on target as Seamus McEnaney’s men went seven clear while Mark Bradley was in the sin-bin.

Monaghan’s Kearns also went off on a black card, but during his ten-minute absence, Tyrone managed just two points, both from placed balls, from McCurry and 'keeper Morgan, as their challenge fizzled out.

A late melee resulted in Kieran Hughes and Tyrone’s Mark Bradley receiving straight red cards, while Monaghan defender Kieran Duffy was also sent off on a second booking.

Monaghan: R Beggan; K Duffy, C Boyle (0-01), R Wylie; K O’Connell (1-00), D Ward (0-01), R McAnespie; D Hughes, N Kearns (0-01); M Bannigan, C McCarthy (0-04), D Malone; J McCarron (0-01, f), K Hughes (0-01), C McManus (0-02, 1f, 1 mark).

Subs: A Mulligan (0-01) for McCarron (46), C McGuinness for Bannigan (54), S Carey for McManus (68), D Wylie for McCarthy (71), P Keenan for O’Connell (73)

Tyrone: N Morgan (0-01, f); HP McGeary, R McNamee, L Rafferty, C Meyler; R Brennan, K McGeary (0-01); C Cavanagh, K Coney (0-01); N Sludden (0-01), P Harte, D McCurry (0-03, 3f); M Bradley, F Burns (0-02), R O’Neill.

Subs: C Kilpatrick for O’Neill (h-t), N Kelly (0-01) for McNamee (39), D Mulgrew (0-01) for Cavanagh (53), T McCann for Harte (53), M Cassidy for Coney (58), B McDonnell for Burns (64)

Referee: D Gough (Meath).