Monaghan left hanging on to win McKenna Cup opener
Monaghan 0-20 UUJ 2-10
Monaghan held off a late challenge from UUJ to win this free-flowing McKenna Cup opener at Castleblayney.
Malachy O'Rourke started with six debutants and later introduced another two for Monaghan, who had eight scorers in a win that would have been much more comfortable but for a lapse inside the last 10 minutes which allowed Caolan O'Boyle to bag a brace of goals.
Monaghan had been nine points clear at that stage, largely thanks to the efforts of Stephen Gollogly, Neil McAdam and a full-forward line where Daniel McKenna was joined by newcomers Christopher McKenna and Brendan McElroy.
Ulster University were without several star names and the hosts' superiority became apparent when they had a 0-9 to 0-5 advantage at the break.
Mayo star Cillian O'Connor tapped over the third of his four pointed frees at the start of the second half, but Monaghan hit eight of the next 10, with the McKennas again to the fore. Brendan and Martin McElroy chipped in with a point apiece, while the energetic Gollogly capped a Man-of-the-Match performance with his second.
Monaghan appeared to be in cruise control, but the students hit back to make it a two-point game, but Daniel McKenna, Brendan McElroy and sub Paddy Kieran ensured the win for Monaghan.
MONAGHAN: E Duffy; J McCarron, P McGuigan, R Wylie; F Kelly (0-1), K Duffy, M McElroy (0-1); D Hughes (Capt.), N McAdam; R McAnespie, S Gollogly (0-2), T Kerr (0-1); C McKenna (0-4, 3f), D McKenna (0-6, 4f), B McElroy (0-4). Subs: K O'Connell for McGuigan (black card, 26 mins), D Clerkin for Hughes (45), B Greenan for Kerr, T Connolly for Gollogly (both 55), D Wylie for R Wylie, P Kieran (0-1) for Kelly (both 60).
UUJ: R Beggan; K Brady, B Sankey, D McNally; C Mooney, R McCaughley, F Burns; P Casey, N McKeever; L Gervin (0-2), R O'Neill (0-1), M Argue (0-1); R Donnelly, C O'Boyle (Capt., 2-1, 0-1f), C O'Connor (0-4f). Subs: J McGovern for McCaughley (46), C Harkin for Argue (black card, 57), T Meskella (0-1) for Donnelly (60), J Hughes for Beggan (63), R McAlinden for Burns, N Rowland for Mooney (both 67).
Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).