All Ireland SFC Round 4B Qualifier
Monaghan extracted the perfect revenge as they dumped Down out of the All Ireland to make up for their Ulster semi-final loss.
Indeed, Down must wonder where they went wrong in reaching the Ulster final, with the other side they saw-off along the way (Armagh) also progressing to the All Ireland quarter-finals, while Down’s year is over.
There was no separating the sides after 45 minutes, but Fermanagh pulled away thereafter – outscoring the Mourne men by 0-13 to 0-5 – with Conor McManus’ ten-point haul capping an excellent second-half performance.
The sides were level five times in a richly entertaining first-half, which saw both teams intent on all-out attack.
Fintan Kelly continued his rich vein of goal scoring form with a 27th minute goal, but the Mourne men had no intention of backing down and the sides went in deadlocked on 1-9 apiece.
They were level again for the seventh time in the game with 25 minutes to go, at 1-11 to 1-11, but it was then that Monaghan finally managed to stamp their authority on the match with five points in a row, with their bench playing a pivotal role.
That finally did for Down, as Monaghan secured a fourth quarter-final appearance in five years.
“We were better in the second half, there’s no doubt about that, but there are still a lot of things that we know aren’t going to be good enough going forward,” said Monaghan manager Malachy O’Rourke.
“We’ve a tough week ahead of us to try and get up to the speed of the teams we’re playing next but it’s a good place to be.
“It’s either going to be Tyrone or Dublin and they’re probably neck and neck in terms of favouritism for the All-Ireland.
“They’re at a different level completely and we have an awful lot of work to do if we’re going to be competitive.”
Scorers for Monaghan: Conor McManus 0-10 (8fs), Conor McCarthy 0-4, Fintan Kelly 1-0, Kieran Hughes 0-3 (1f), Darren Hughes 0-3, Jack McCarron 0-2, Owen Duffy 0-1, Ryan Wylie 0-1
Scorers for Down: Connaire Harrison 1-4, Jerome Johnston 0-3 (1f), Darragh O’Hanlon 0-2 (0-2f), Kevin McKernan 0-2, Conor Maginn 0-2, Caolan Mooney 0-1, Shay Millar 0-1, David McKibbin 0-1.
MONAGHAN: Rory Beggan; Fintan Kelly, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie; Karl O’Connell, Colin Walshe, Kieran Duffy; Kieran Hughes, Darren Hughes; Ryan McAnespie, Dermot Malone, Gavin Doogan; Shane Carey, Darren Freeman, Conor McManus.
Subs: Owen Duffy for Malone (h/t), Jack McCarron for Carey (h/t), Dessie Ward for Doogan (49, blood), Conor McCarthy for Freeman (46), Vinny Corey for Walshe (62), Doogan for McAnespie (69), Dessie Mone for O’Connell (71).
DOWN: Michael Cunningham; Niall McParland, Gerard McGovern, Darren O’Hagan; Darragh O’Hanlon, Conaill McGovern, Caolan Mooney; Peter Turley, Niall Donnelly; Kevin McKernan, Conor Maginn, Shay Millar; Sean Dornan, Connaire Harrison, Ryan Johnston.
Subs: Jerome Johnston for Dornan (49), Aidan Carr for Turley (52), Mark Poland for Maginn (58), David McKibbin for Millar (58), Donal O’Hare for Mooney (68), Joe Murphy for R Johnston (76).
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Armagh’s impressive march through the qualifiers was completed with Kildare suffering the same fate as Fermanagh, Westmeath and Tipperary.