Monaghan through to Ulster Final

Monaghan's Kieran Hughes and Fermanagh's Barry Mulrone
Monaghan's Kieran Hughes and Fermanagh's Barry Mulrone

Monaghan booked their place in a third successive Ulster final after beating neighbours Fermanagh by 1-20 to 0-13 at Breffni Park.

Fermanagh offered stern resistance for long periods but their chances ended when Ryan McCluskey was dismissed 13 minutes from the end, after a six-point deficit had been clawed back to three.

McCluskey received a straight card in the 58th minute following a challenge on Monaghan substitute Owen Duffy after his team had fought back from six points down to trail by just 0-14 to 0-11.

Fermanagh struggled after the sending-off and Monaghan outscored them by 1-6 to 0-2 in the closing stages, Conor McManus with the game’s only goal in the 65th minute. Darren Hughes was also dismissed three minutes from the end for a second yellow card but it made no impact on the result.

In front of 16,572 in Kingspan Breffni Park, the sides were level five times in the first half hour of a tactical, suffocating battle.

“We are delighted to get back to an Ulster final,” said Monaghan manager, Malachy O’Rourke.

“It’s hard to win one Ulster Championship, never mind to come back and reach a final for the third year in a row.

“It’s great credit to the lads and everyone in the backroom team. We know we will have to improve if we want to give ourselves a chance of winning it. Derry or Donegal, whoever comes through, will possibly be favourites.”

Meanwhile, Fermanagh boss Pete McGrath branded the red-card for McCluskey as ‘harsh’ and indicated that tan appeal will follow.

“It was at the behest of an umpire and looks a very marginal thing,” said McGrath.

“One of most influential players is sidelined and to me it looks exceptionally unjust, unfair and harsh.

“I’m not saying we would have won the game if Ryan had stayed on the pitch but certainly a large chunk of the chance that we had to win the game maybe departed with him to the sideline.”