Football League Division 1 semi-final: Dublin 0-17 0-16 Monaghan

Monaghan's Karl O'Connell and Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly
Diarmuid Connolly tries to burst away from Monaghan's Karl O'Connell at Croke Park

Dublin stayed on course for a third successive Football League title but only just as they edged out a brave Monaghan in Sunday's second semi-final.

The Dubs led 0-9 to 0-7 at half-time but Monaghan, inspired by Conor McManus, fought back to lead 0-14 to 0-13 as an upset looked on.

However, Dublin responded with four unanswered scores as Dean Rock brought up his haul to seven points.

Monaghan hit the last two scores but couldn't force an equaliser.

McManus hit eight of Monaghan's points and was deservedly named man of the match.

Dublin went into the game as overwhelming favourites after hammering Monaghan last weekend but this was a very different contest as Malachy O'Rourke's side shackled the hosts for the majority of the contest.

Paul Finlay gave Monaghan an early lead and the Ulster side led again at 0-3 to 0-2 thanks to a Kieran Hughes point after Rory Beggan had made a fine save to prevent Diarmuid Connolly notching a Dublin goal.

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Monaghan boss Malachy O'Rourke 'happy enough' despite loss

Rock's third point of the first half helped Dublin regain the lead at 0-5 to 0-3 but the Dubs were unable to extend their advantage beyond two during the remainder of the first period as the holders went in 0-9 to 0-7 ahead at the break.

Another Rock free extended Dublin's lead to three but two poor Stephen Cluxton kick-outs were punished by points from half-time substitute Dick Clerkin and Kieran Hughes.

Clerkin's introduction helped Monaghan win more ball in the second half and his second point enabled the Farney County to level at 0-13 apiece in the 53rd minute after McManus had notched his team's three previous efforts all from play.

Monaghan were ahead three minutes later as McManus struck his seventh point after he himself had been fouled by Johnny Cooper.

Monaghan keeper Rory Beggan had a long-range chance to extend the lead but was just wide and Dublin responded from the let-off with four straight points including scores from Emmet O Conghaile and their best forward on the day Jack McCaffrey.

Three down with three minutes of normal time left, Monaghan refused to give up and Clerkin's third point was then followed by McManus's eighth score from a free.

Monaghan had two further chances in injury-time but Dessie Mone's effort from a tight angle was off target and sub Stephen Gollogly failed to connect well with an effort from 40 metres with McManus's despairing effort to divert the shot goalward coming to nought.

TEAMS

Dublin: S Cluxton; J Cooper, R O'Carroll, P McMahon; J McCarthy, J Small, J McCaffrey; D Bastick, C O'Sullivan; P Flynn, D Connolly, B Fenton; C Kilkenny, D Rock, B Brogan.

Monaghan: R Beggan; K Duffy, D Wylie, R Wylie; F Kelly, V Corey, K O'Connell; N McAdam, D Hughes; D Mone, P Finlay, O Duffy; D Malone, K Hughes, C McManus.

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