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McManus back to inspire Monaghan

Monaghan 1-13 St Mary's 0-10

On target: Dermot Malone netted the only goal of the game
On target: Dermot Malone netted the only goal of the game

By Colm Shalvey

Monaghan advanced to the Dr McKenna Cup semi-finals as Section B winners after they got the better of a plucky St Mary's University outfit in Inniskeen last night.

Influential forward Conor McManus made his first appearance of the season after his recovery from a hip injury, playing 59 minutes on his return, and he helped lead Monaghan to a deserved victory.

The Oriel men trailed by 0-5 to 0-4 at the end of a first half riddled with errors, and it looked like the wheels might be coming off their impressive start to this McKenna Cup campaign.

But they upped their game after the restart to secure a third win of the group stage that leaves them as the only unbeaten side remaining.

Cathal McShane led the way for St Mary's with six points, but McManus responded with the same tally for Monaghan, who scored the only goal through Dermot Malone on 50 minutes to earn an advantage they built on to end up with six points to spare.

Their reward for the victory is a semi-final against Derry at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh on Sunday.

Monaghan: R Beggan; F Kelly (0-1), K McQuaid, R Wylie (0-1); J Mealiff, N McAdam (0-1), S Finnegan (0-1); D Hughes, A Lynch; S McCabe, C McManus (0-6, 4f), G Doogan; D McAlister, D Malone (1-1), O Duffy.

Subs: T Kerr for Duffy (black card, 18), S Carey (0-1) for McAlister, N Kearns for Lynch, K O'Connell for McCabe (all H-T), D Mone (0-1) for Mealiff (48), K Hughes for McManus (59).

St. Mary's: M Reid; K Mallon, R Mooney, J Hannigan; C Mac Íomhar, M O'Hare, C Byrne; K McKernan, B McGilligan; P McCrickard, C Meyler (0-2f), S McConville; J Colton, C McShane (0-6, 1f), J Burns.

Subs: L Rafferty for McConville (black card, 45), N Toner for Burns (50), R McNulty (0-1) for McGilligan, C Mallon for Colton (both 62), A Beattie for Mac Íomhar (67), A McKernan for K Mallon (69).

Referee: C Mooney (Down)

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