Ulster SFC preliminary round: Monaghan 1-20 Fermanagh 1-11

Ryan McCluskey and Jack McCarron
Fermanagh's Ryan McCluskey attempts to halt the progress of Monaghan's Jack McCarron
Ulster Championship preliminary round: Monaghan 1-20 Fermanagh 1-11
Monaghan scorers: K Hughes 0-1, C Walshe 0-2, C McManus 1-3, S Carey 0-1, K O'Connell 0-1, C McCarthy 0-2, J McCarron 0-2, N McAdam 0-1, O Duffy 0-3, D Malone 0-1, F Kelly 0-1, G Doogan 0-1, D Mone 0-1
Fermanagh scorers: T Corrigan 0-5, S Quigley 0-2, R Lyons 1-0, L Cullen 0-1, E Courtney 0-1, A Breen 0-2

Monaghan overcame a determined early challenge from Fermanagh to run out comfortable nine-point victors in the Ulster SFC preliminary round at Clones.

Monaghan's Conor McManus and Ryan Lyons of Fermanagh scored first-half goals as the hosts led 1-8 to 1-6 at the break.

The Farneymen pulled away in the second half, including a run of 10 unanswered points, as the game fizzled out as a contest, McManus finishing with 1-3.

Man-of-the-match Owen Duffy with three points was one of 13 Monaghan scorers.

Re-live all the action from Clones as it happened here

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Malachy O'Rourke delighted to progress to the next round of the Ulster Championship.

Monaghan lead by two at the break

Monaghan went in two points to the good at the interval, an advantage they scarcely deserved given their opponents' efforts in the opening period.

The sides were level at 0-2 apiece when the home side suffered a blow with Kieran Hughes receiving a black card for a retaliatory trip, Ryan McAnespie coming on as his replacement.

McManus put his team three points ahead in the 14th minute when he picked up on a poor kick-out by visiting goalkeeper Thomas Treacy and slotted the ball low and hard into the net for the first goal of the match.

Seven minutes later, Lyons found the net from close range after a fine run and pass by Paul McCusker to make it 1-4 apiece.

The sides continued to trade points but two late frees from Jack McCarron and McManus nudged the Farney County ahead.

McAnespie and McManus both avoided potential black cards in the first half, the former for a foul on Corrigan which saw a 13-metre free awarded, and the latter for a step on Ryan McCluskey, which looked accidental.

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Pete McGrath says his Fermanagh side couldn't match Monaghan's second-half intensity

One-sided second half

Monaghan were by far the superior side in the second half as they took a first tentative step towards securing a 17th Ulster title and a third in five years.

Duffy was one of several substitutes to make an impact on the game, McAnespie denying Sean Quigley a goal-scoring chance and Dessie Mone and Dermot Malone both scoring points.

Fermanagh 'keeper Treacy made a superb early save from Conor McCarthy as he attempted to atone for his first-half error, but later was fortunate to avoid a black card for a rash challenge.

Malachy O'Rourke's men appeared to knock over points at will and the game was far out of the Ernemen's reach by the time Aidan Breen, one of Fermanagh's brighter lights, registered a couple of impressive late scores.

What's next?

Monaghan will play Cavan in the quarter-finals of the Ulster SFC on 11 June. For Fermanagh, the first round of the qualifiers in mid-June awaits.

What they said

Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke: "It took us a long time to get going - we were careless with the ball in the first half and we knew we had to come out and be much better in the second half, which we were.

"We gave Fermanagh a lot of room to play in the first half but they fell away a bit in the second. We put more pressure on them, turned the ball over a few times and turned some of those into points.

"We had more urgency all over the field and pressed Fermanagh a bit more. We will need to improve though if we want to beat Cavan in the next round.

Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath: "We put in a fantastic effort in the first half - it went as well as it could have for us, apart from those two late frees.

"Monaghan brought an intensity, pace and physicality to the second half which we were unable to match and they got momentum, flow and cohesion into their game. They deserved to win it on their second half performance."

How they lined up

Monaghan: R Beggan; F Kelly, D Wylie, R Wylie; C Walshe (capt), V Corey, N McAdam; K Hughes, K O'Connell; G Doogan, S Carey, D Ward; C McCarthy, J McCarron, C McManus. Subs: C Forde, K Duffy, J Mealiff, D Mone, B Greenan, A Lynch, D Malone, O Duffy, R McAnespie, T Kerr, M Bannigan.

Fermanagh: T Treacy; M Jones, C Cullen, C McManus; A Breen, R McCluskey, CP Murphy; E Donnelly, L Cullen; B Mulrone, R Lyons, P McCusker; K Connor, Sean Quigley, T Corrigan.

Referee: Derek O'Mahoney (Tipperary)

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