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Monaghan sweat over fitness of Conor McManus after win over Fermanagh

Monaghan 1-21 Fermanagh 0-14

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Monaghan's Conor McManus leaves the game with an injury. Pic: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Monaghan's Conor McManus leaves the game with an injury. Pic: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Fermanagh's Ultan Kelm and Aidan Breen

Fermanagh's Ultan Kelm and Aidan Breen

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Fermanagh's Aidan Breen powers away from Monaghan's Ryan Wylie

Fermanagh's Aidan Breen powers away from Monaghan's Ryan Wylie

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Fermanagh manager Ryan McMenamin

Fermanagh manager Ryan McMenamin

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

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Monaghan's Conor McManus leaves the game with an injury. Pic: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

If relief was etched on the face of Monaghan skipper Ryan Wylie, then disappointment was the overriding emotion of Fermanagh manager Ryan McMenamin.

In an Ulster Championship Quarter-Final in which Monaghan’s pace, power and experience ultimately proved a successful cocktail, Fermanagh’s vibrant resilience and untiring effort just fell short as the second half progressed.

While Wylie will harbour concerns following the worrying sight of ace marksman Conor McManus limping off two minutes from time, he is clearly taking heart from an encouraging display that will further bolster morale.

“Obviously we would have concerns about Conor but hopefully he will be available for our Semi-Final against Antrim or Armagh. While we are very satisfied with this performance against Fermanagh, we still feel we have some elements of our game to work on. But we are a team that like to express ourselves and we will continue to do this,” said Wylie.

Erne boss McMenamin admitted that Rory Beggan’s kick-outs had presented difficulties but lauded his side for coming to terms with this as the match progressed.

“I thought that some of my players put in a big effort in the second half and that we were rather unfortunate not to have benefited from maybe two penalty calls. Had we been afforded these opportunities it might have helped us to reduce the gap and make a bigger impact,” said McMenamin.

“I am convinced that we had to work that bit harder to get our frees in the first half and that did not make things easy for us. But I have to say that several players kept going right to the end and I admire them for that.”

Within the opening 13 minutes, Conor McManus (2), Jack McCarron and Aaron Mulligan were on target with Sean Quigley pirating a point for Fermanagh.

But it was in the 15th minute that Monaghan struck a telling blow. A shot from defender Kieran Duffy was parried but Conor McManus was on hand to finish the ball into the net to give the Oriel County a more comfortable 1-4 to 0-2 advantage.

With Fermanagh restricted to occasional raids, it was left to Sean Quigley and Ultan Kelm in particular to ruffle the feathers of the Monaghan defence and when the latter and Jonny Cassidy swooped for points, Fermanagh looked as if they would establish a stronger foothold in the game.

But Fermanagh were unable to penetrate the Monaghan defence to any great extent and had to be content with a brace of points from Josh Largo Ellis and Quigley, which left Monaghan with a 1-11 to 0-7 advantage at the halfway stage.

Yet although Monaghan attempted to put the game out of their opponents’ reach, they found their resilience and passion difficult to subdue in the third quarter in particular.

When Fermanagh pegged their opponents back, it looked as if they might produce a grandstand finish but it was not to be.

Monaghan deployed their substitutes to good effect and in a devastating spell between the 60th and 65th minute they swept over four points which put them into an unassailable 1-20 to 0-13 lead.

Fermanagh in contrast could only muster three points in the last 20 minutes from Aidan Breen, Ciaran Corrigan and Quigley.

Monaghan: R Beggan; K Duffy, C Boyle, R Wylie; K O’Connell, D Ward, R McAnespie; D Hughes, K Lavelle; S O’Hanlon, C McCarthy, M Bannigan; A Mulligan, J McCarron, C McManus. Subs: N Kerins for Hughes (31), C Walshe for McCarron (50), S Carey for O’Hanlon (55), K Hughes for McCarthy (63), F Kelly for O’Connell (67), K McMneamin for Laveelle (70+2)

Scorers: J McCarron 1-3, C McManus 0-4 (2f), A Mulligan 0-4, M Banningan 0-3, C Walsh 0-2, C McCarthy 0-2, R Wylie, C Boyle, K Lavelle 0-1 each.

Fermanagh: S McNally; K Connor, J Cassidy, L Flanagan; D McCusker, J McMahon, K McDonnell; S McGullion, E Donnelly; C Corrigan, C McManus, J Largo Ellis; U Kelm, D McGurn, S Quigley. Subs: B Breen for K McDonnell (26), R O’Callaghan for McGurn (41), T Bogue for McGullion (65), M MaCauley for McMahon (65).

Scorers: S Quigley 0-7 (1 ‘45’, 3), J Cassidy, D McCusker, C Corrigan, J Largo Ellis, U Kelm, A Breen 0-1 each.,

Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry)


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