It was a case of another day, another thrilling hurling showdown in Croke Park this afternoon, as Monaghan opened up a treble header of national finals with a heart-stopping and historic success over Lancashire in the Lory Meagher final.

The Farney County had never contested a senior final before but they did come into this tie as the clear favourites, in no small part because of how they bounced back from taking one point from their first two games in this year's competition to winning three on the spin, including a seven-point victory over this afternoon’s opponents.

They continued along the same vein here in the early stages, tacking over six points in the first 10 minutes to take an early 0-06 to 0-02 lead, hinting at a comfortable win for Arthur Hughes’ men.

Conor Gernon, Ethan Flynn and Stephen Lambe all put their names on the scoresheet in that opening run, but the sport of hurling has been the gift that keeps on giving in recent weeks, and regardless of levels, it seems that every game quickly turns into an over-and-back battle that culminates in a dramatic finish.

Once Robin Spencer made a stunning catch to pluck Conor Madden's delivery from the clouds and then stitch the sliotar to the corner of the net to wipe away the bulk of that fast start, this contest always looked like it was heading the same way.

Monaghan settled again with two points but they always looked vulnerable at the back, and survived a few close scrapes before Darragh Carroll’s first time ground pull off Ray McCormick’s break nudged them into their first lead of the game.

Lancashire's Ray McCormack attempts the spectacular

Lancashire grew into the game from here, inspired by some excellent work across the half-back line where Shane Nugent, Cormac Kenny and Finn Henry was all very impressive.

A clever over-the-shoulder pass from Arthur into Ethan Flynn left Thomas Hughes with a simple finish for Monaghan’s first goal on the half-hour mark, but by now Lancashire were rightly settled into the tie and they were back within a point at half-time, 1-12 to 2-8, thanks to a gorgeous sideline cut from Conor Madden and a long-range effort from his Fullen Gaels club colleague Shane Madden.

The first score of the second half was a volleyed goal from Simon Holland’s first touch after coming on as substitute, and the Exiles’ lead briefly peaked at three points when Eoghan Clifford struck over a majestic point from the Cusack Stand sideline.

If there was a turning point in the game, it was on 44 minutes, when Lancashire were now in full flow. Shane Nugent’s soaring catch and long clearance set up an attack that ultimately yielded a close range shot on goal from Holland that was parried by Hugh Byrne. The sliotar sat invitingly for Ray McCormack, but the Borrisoleigh man didn’t make contact, and the danger was averted.

Monaghan celebrate their first ever senior inter-county hurling title

Monaghan took full advantage of their reprieve and made Lancashire pay three minutes later when a long and direct clearance from Hugh Byrne saw Niall Garland scoop up the break, blast through from centre forward and pick out the bottom corner of the net to level the tie.

Niall Arthur followed up with two wonderful points from play, and while Lancashire succeeded in drawing level through some good scores from Spencer, Conor Madden and Holland, Monaghan always looked that little bit more potent through the final quarter, and another wonderful goal from Garland helped to push them four points clear with a little over five minutes to play.

Lancashire showed patience, picked off three points from dead ball scores and 'the most dangerous lead in hurling’ was the cushion that Monaghan enjoyed going into stoppage time.

They might have been reeled in too in the seventh minute of stoppage time as Lancashire threw everything they had at the Davin End goal, and their very last attack saw the ball break off a scrum of players and slip out to the right edge of the penalty area.

Hugh Byrne just about outpaced Shane Nugent in the race for the loose ball however, and once that danger was cleared, Monaghan could begin their celebrations.

Monaghan: Hugh Byrne; Jack Guinan, Paddy Finnegan, Conall McHugh; Conor Flynn, Kevin Crawley, Declan Hughes (0-01); Colin Merrick, Aaron Kenny; Niall Arthur (0-10, 6f), Niall Garland (2-03), Stephen Lambe (0-02); Thomas Hughes (1-02), Conor Gernon (0-02), Ethan Flynn (0-02).

Subs: Fergal Rafter for Gernon (47), Pauric Malone for Lambe (62), Cormac McNally for Kenny (66), Ciarán Guinan for Merrick (70).

Lancashire: Pa Coates; Liam Burns, Conor McCormick, Andrew Morgan; Cormac Kenny (0-01), Shane Nugent, Finn Henry; Eoghan Kelly, Eoghan Clifford (0-01); Conor Madden (0-07, 3f, 2 65s, 1 sl), Ray McCormack, Darragh Carroll (1-00); Robin Spencer (1-06, 5f), Shane Madden (0-02), David Burke.

Subs: Simon Holland (1-01) for Morgan (half-time), Phil Shine (0-01) for McCormick (44), Conor Kennedy (0-01) for Carroll (50), Conor O’Shea for S Madden (58), Ronan Walsh for Kelly (70).

Referee: Tarlach Conway (Derry).