Declan Bogue reports from Healy Park
ALL-IRELAND CHAMPIONS Tyrone just about clung on with their 14 men in the final stages of this strange and wildly entertaining opening league game in an Omagh blizzard.
In a game packed with incident, the final play came down to a 50 metre free when Darragh Canavan was adjudged to have picked the ball off the ground. Meat and drink to Rory Beggan? He played it short to full-back Conor Boyle instead and his shot dropped short of the Tyrone goal. Game over.
This league might feel like an important one, but there was enough experimentation going on around the field to keep the musos occupied. Monaghan set Dessie Ward on Conor Meyler, creating a different dynamic than in the Ulster final and Conor McManus was held until the 56th minute.
While Tyrone went in at the break 0-6 to 0-4 up, Monaghan could have been well ahead such were the amount of chances they passed up on, including a first minute routine free from the otherwise busy and impressive Micheal Bannigan in the first minute, and goal chances for Kieran Duffy and Gary Mohan.
Tyrone were trying out debutants Nathan Donnelly and Conor Shields, two nifty, tidy footballers indeed. But this was a day for big, ignorant strapping lads as all the petty resentments built up on a vintage day for winding up and sledging.
Scorers for Tyrone: N Sludden (0-2), C McShane (0-2f), D McCurry (0-1f), N Donnelly, P Harte, L Rafferty (0-1 each), N Morgan (0-1f)
Scorers for Monaghan: R Beggan (0-3, 0-2f), K Duffy, R McAnespie, C McCarthy, S Carey, C McManus (0-1 each), M Bannigan (0-1f)
TYRONE: N Morgan; M McKernan, P Hampsey, L Rafferty; C Meyler, F Burns, P Harte; C Kilpatrick, N Donnelly; K McGeary, R Donnelly, N Sludden; D McCurry, C Shields, C McShane
Subs: D Canavan for Shields (47m), B Kennedy for R Donnelly (47m), M Donnelly for McCurry (61m), P Donaghy for McShane (67m)
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MONAGHAN: R Beggan; G Mohan, C Boyle, R Wylie; K Duffy, D Ward, R McAnespie; D Hughes, N Kearns; C McCarthy, M Bannigan, S Carey; A Mulligan, J McCarron, A Woods
Subs: K Lavelle for Kearns (HT), K O’Connell for Mulligan (46m), D Garland for McCarron, C McManus for Mohan (both 56m)
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)
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