Monaghan dig deep as Fintan delivers their defining score
Monaghan 1-12 Carlow 1-7
Monaghan survived a real scare in Saturday's Round 3B SFC qualifier to a determined Carlow side at Netwatch Cullen Park.
Having led by two points at the end of a tense and physical first half, Monaghan found themselves trailing after Carlow struck for the opening goal through Gary Kelly in the 50th minute. The visitors dug deep, however, to outscore their opponents by 1-5 to 0-1 in the final 20 minutes, with Fintan Kelly getting the crucial goal.
The teams shared four points in a low scoring opening quarter, with Conor McManus and Kieran Hughes on target for Monaghan and both of Carlow's points coming from Paul Broderick frees.
McManus (two) and Hughes added to their tallies before half-time to leave Monaghan 0-5 to 0-3 up, despite Brendan Murphy getting the hosts' first score from play.
Murphy and Broderick got Carlow off to a good start in the second half and although Shane Carey regained the lead for Monaghan, Gary Kelly pounced on a loose ball from a Darragh Foley free to find the net.
A brace from the lively Conor McCarthy kept Monaghan in touch, however, with Rory Beggan and another sub, Ryan McAnespie, also on the mark.
McCarthy turned provider for Fintan Kelly to force the ball over the line on 65 minutes and although a fifth Broderick free closed the gap to three, Hughes and Dermot Malone saw Monaghan through.
Malachy O'Rourke and his charges, who kicked 14 wides, know that tougher tests lie ahead via this morning's Round 4B draw.
Carlow scorers: Paul Broderick 0-5f; Gary Kelly 1-0; Brendan Murphy 0-2.
Monaghan scorers: Conor McManus (2f), Kieran Hughes 0-3 each; Fintan Kelly 1-0; Conor McCarthy 0-2 (1f); Shane Carey, Dermot Malone, Ryan McAnespie, Rory Beggan (f) 0-1 each.
Referee: C Reilly (Meath).