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Alarm bells after Tyrone's third successive defeat

Monaghan picked up their first National League points of the season when they had the minimum to spare at Inniskeen over a Tyrone side who remain pointless after a third successive defeat.

It was a real battle from start to finish and the fact that 18 points came from frees tells its own story.

The sides were level on seven occasions throughout the game and it looked likely to end in a stalemate until Monaghan popped up with late points from Paul Finlay and substitute Rory Woods to win the game, Tyrone defender Dermot Carlin pointing with the last kick of the game.

Monaghan ended the contest with only 13 men after both Tommy Freeman and Stephen Gollogly were sent off for double yellow card offences in injury time but Seamus McEnaney’s men held on to take a crucial victory.

It was Monaghan who led 1-7 to 0-9 at the break despite Tyrone having the better of things for the majority of the opening period.

The visitors kicked a couple of early wides before Monaghan scored in their first attack with a well taken point from Tommy Freeman after he had received a pass from Kieran Hughes.

Tommy McGuigan and Paul Freeman exchanged points from frees before Martin Penrose levelled matters from another placed ball. McGuigan then turned sharply to hoist over a fine point but Monaghan’s response was instant with Dick Clerkin showing great strength to burst past a couple of tackles before fisting the equaliser.

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Tyrone then took control with Raymond Mulgrew, Kevin Hughes and Owen Mulligan all splitting the posts with quality scores.

Penrose then knocked over a free for the visitors and at that stage they were looking good.

Finlay and Conor McManus reduced the deficit with frees apiece but a well taken Mulgrew point ensured that Tyrone kept their noses in front.

In the 32nd minute Monaghan drew level when Conor Gormley was robbed of possession by Freeman and the former All Star attacker raced through before finishing in style to the bottom left hand corner of the net past Tyrone keeper Johnny Curran.

That score gave the home side a massive boost and a Finlay free enabled them to lead at the break.

It was the home side who looked the better on the restart and after a period of pressure they went two in front when |McManus brilliantly converted a free from an acute angle out on the left wing.

Penrose then opened Tyrone’s second half account from a free only for McManus to respond at the other end of the field from a placed ball.

Frees from Penrose and McGuigan levelled matters again and after a scoreless spell of 12 minutes it was Finlay who edged Monaghan back in front with a conversion from the right wing with his trusty left foot.

It was tough and uncompromising with both sides giving it everything in pursuit of their first league points.

Both managers made substitutions in an attempt to get the match winning scores and it was the hosts who were looking most likely to do so as we went into the closing stages of the contest.

McGuigan and McManus exchanged points from frees before substitute Eoin McCusker fired over a well taken point, the first from play of the half, and we had played 33 minutes.

In the final minute of normal time a high ball in from Darren Hughes broke in the Tyrone area and Finlay was on hand to put it over the bar when he perhaps should have had a goal.

Moments later Monaghan were reduced to 14 men when Gollogly was dismissed by the referee.

Tyrone pushed in search of an equaliser but a ball in from Owen Mulligan was well caught by Darren Hughes who began a flowing move involving Colin Walshe, Neil McAdam and Vinny Corey and was finished off by a well taken fisted point from substitute Rory Woods.

In the next kick out Freeman was sent off for a trip on Justin McMahon but with Tyrone needing a goal all they could muster was a point from defender Dermot Carlin with what proved to be the last kick of a very hard-fought game.

Monaghan: Duffy, McArdle, D Hughes, Mone, Walshe, McAdam, C Hughes, Caulfield, Finlay (0-7), Clerkin (0-1), Gollogly, McElroy, McManus (0-4), Corey, Freeman (1-1). Subs: Greenan (for Caulfield), D Morgan (for Greenan), R Woods 0-1 (for K Hughes), D Malone (for McElroy).

Tyrone: Curran, Carlin (0-1), McMahon, O’Neill, Harte, Gormley, McMenamin, Cassidy, Hughes (0-1), Cavanagh, McGuigan, Mulgrew (0-2), McGuigan (0-3), Penrose (0-6), Mulligan (0-2). Subs: E McGinley (for Hughes), McCullagh (for B McGuigan), |McCusker (0-1) (for Mulgrew).

Referee: M Higgins (Fermanagh).

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