Ulster SFC: Down 1-14 Monaghan 0-15

Drew Wylie of Monaghan challenges Down forward Connaire Harrison
Drew Wylie of Monaghan challenges Down forward Connaire Harrison
Down v Monaghan
Down scorers: C Harrison 0-3, D O'Hanlon 1-5, S Millar, K McKernan 0-2, C Maginn, M Cunningham, D O'Hare
Monaghan scorers: R Wylie, D Hughes 0-2, J McCarron 0-3, C McManus 0-6, C McCarthy, O Duffy, K Hughes

Down produced the shock result of the 2017 Ulster Championship by clinching a thrilling two-point win over Monaghan in Saturday's semi-final in Armagh.

The Mourne men had been 4-1 outsiders but produced a hungry, high-energy display to reach the 16 July final in which they will play holders Tyrone.

Monaghan trailed by seven points when Darragh O'Hanlon converted a 41st-minute penalty.

They fought back to be just one point behind, but Down clung on to win.

It was a stunning display by Eamonn Burns' side and came just a year after Monaghan had hammered Down 2-22 to 0-9 at the quarter-final stage.

For Monaghan, it was a huge disappointment as they sought a third provincial title in five years.

Revitalised Down defy the odds

Jerome Johnston had a fine game in Down's full-forward line
Jerome Johnston had a fine game in Down's full-forward line

They went in as strong favourites but came up against a fired-up Down side who had been buoyed by victory over Armagh in the quarter-finals.

In a pivotal first-half spell, Down accounted for seven of the eight points scored and they led 0-10 to 0-8 at half-time.

Then came the penalty drama, with Niall Donnelly being pulled back by Colin Walshe.

Stand-in referee Paddy Neilan from Roscommon, who had replaced the injured David Coldrick at half-time, awarded the penalty and O'Hanlon found the net despite keeper Rory Beggan getting a hand to the ball.

Victory seemed assured for Down - but Monaghan revived their hopes with a string of points from Conor McManus 4, Darren Hughes, Jack McCarron and Kieran Hughes.

Late in the game, Conor Maginn had the ball in the net but ref Neilan ruled it out for a foul on keeper Beggan.

McCarron had a chance to level the game but sent a free well wide and Down got the insurance point through Donal O'Hare.

Media playback is not supported on this device

'Not many expected us to win' - Down's Kevin McKernan

Down: M Cunningham; N McParland, G McGovern, D O'Hagan; D O'Hanlon, C McGovern, C Mooney; K McKernan, N Donnelly; P Turley, C Maginn, S Millar; J Johnston, R Johnston, C Harrison.

Monaghan: R Beggan; F Kelly, D Wylie, R Wylie; C Walshe, V Corey, N McAdam; K Hughes, K O'Connell; D Hughes, K Duffy, O Duffy; C McCarthy, J McCarron, C McManus

Top Stories