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Monaghan cruise to convincing win and set up derby battle

Galway 0-8 Monaghan 0-16

By Colm Shalvey

Monaghan will face Tyrone in their first All-Ireland SFC semi-final since 1988 after they cruised to a surprisingly easy win over Galway at Pearse Stadium yesterday.

Having trailed just once, Monaghan went on to lead almost throughout this game, ending double-scores winners against a Galway side that had already secured their place in the last four.

Galway had lost just once in league and championship in 2018, but this defeat means they face holders Dublin in the first semi-final, while Monaghan's famous win propelled them to the top of group one and into a derby against Tyrone on Sunday.

Malachy O'Rourke praised the character of his team, saying: "All credit to the boys. After we were knocked out of the Ulster championship, it was a real tough defeat to take but 36 players sat down and committed themselves to getting back on the road and back on the Super 8s.

"The fellas stayed together, worked really hard and I'm just delighted for them."

Galway took less than a minute to open the scoring through Eamonn Brannigan, but Fintan Kelly, Vincent Corey and Darren Hughes hit back for Monaghan, who worked several patient attacks in the opening quarter.

A Shane Walsh free ended 17 scoreless minutes for Galway, only for Ryan McAnespie and Colin Walshe to move Monaghan three clear.

Peter Cooke kicked Galway's first score from play since the opening minute, but quick-fire efforts by McAnespie and Conor McManus briefly created a four-point gap.

Galway halved their deficit to two (0-7 to 0-5) by half-time, via points from Gary O'Donnell and Shane Walsh, but Monaghan struck first after the restart through McManus.

Damien Comer surged through the visitors' defence to tap over his only score of the game, but Monaghan continued to respond and stretched their lead with points from Hughes and McManus. Brannigan got one back for the hosts, but Dermot Malone cancelled that out to leave five between them going into the last 20 minutes.

Ian Burke's 52nd-minute point proved to be Galway's final score, with a succession of attacks in the remainder being repelled by a watertight Monaghan defence. McAnespie and McManus added points for Monaghan, whose progression was all but secure when Rory Beggan pointed a huge free just short of the hour mark.

Ruairi Lavelle denied Shane Carey moments later, but the only remaining score arrived in added time when McAnespie curled over a beauty for his fourth of a tireless performance.

An untidy finish to a game played in good spirits saw both teams finish with 13 men, as Monaghan had Drew Wylie and Walshe dismissed on second bookings, while Galway lost Comer to a second yellow and Sean Kelly to injury.

Galway: R Lavelle; E Kerin, D Kyne, S A Ó Ceallaigh; C Sweeney, G Bradshaw, G O'Donnell (0-1); P Cooke (0-1), T Flynn; S Kelly, S Walsh (0-2f), E Brannigan (0-2); A Varley, D Comer (Capt., 0-1), I Burke (0-1). Subs: P Sweeney for Varley (42), C Duggan for Cooke (51), J Heaney for Ó Ceallaigh (56), P Cunningham for Brannigan (60), D Wynne for Kerin (62), D Cummins for Burke (67).

Monaghan: R Beggan (0-1f); R Wylie, D Wylie, K Duffy; K O'Connell, C Walshe (Capt., 0-1), V Corey (0-1); N Kearns, D Hughes (0-2); R McAnespie (0-4), D Malone (0-1), F Kelly (0-1); S Carey, C McManus (0-5, 4f), C McCarthy. Subs: N McAdam for Kearns (63), J McCarron for McCarthy (58), P McKenna for Carey (66), D Mone for O'Connell (67). Temporary sub: N McAdam for Hughes (35-HT).

Referee: C Lane (Cork).

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