Monaghan and Tyrone – a dramatic rivalry

ONE thing can be guaranteed when Tyrone and Monaghan meet – there’s no quarter given and certainly none taken.

We’ve delved into the archives and looked at some of the defining games of this great rivalry, and while Tyrone have fared better in recent decades, they rarely get anything handy against their neighbours to the south.

We expect more fireworks on Saturday, but in saying that, it would be very much bucking the trend if Monaghan manage to overturn Tyrone at Croke Park.

A step on the road to glory
1956 Ulster Championship First Rd
Tyrone 2-9 Monaghan 0-7

TYRONE won their first ever Ulster Championship title in 1956, and they overcame Monaghan en route to the final. That was pretty momentous in itself, as it was the first time they’d ever beaten the Farney county in championship football in eight attempts. The Ulster Herald journalist who attend the game was a harsh critic, saying that “when Tyrone’s superiority is taken into consideration, Monaghan should not have got more than two points.”

The Red Hands were inspired by their skipper Jody O’Neill, whose high catching and long kick were a treat to watch, while newcomer Mick Kerr had a great game in corner-forward. Iggy Jones, who was in the twilight of his career, was held scoreless but showed some flashes of greatness in the final 10 minutes with a few characteristic solo runs.

Walk in the park for the Farney
1981 Ulster Championship Prem Rd
Monaghan 2-9 Tyrone 0-6

TYRONE have dominated the rivalry in more recent times, but this was definitely one to forget as they fell to a one-sided defeat in Castleblayney. Tension erupted several times over the course of the 70-odd minutes, while the overall standard was generally fairly low.

However, Monaghan more than deserved their victory with the inspirational place-kicking of Eamon McEneaney a constant thorn in Tyrone’s side. The Red Hands showed some signs of a revival in the second half, but they fizzled out after Monaghan’s second goal of the game. No back door in those days obviously, so it was a disappointing way to bow out of that year’s championship.

A game that ended in controversy
1988 Ulster Championship Final
Monaghan 1-10 Tyrone 0-11

FORMER Tyrone defender John Lynch says their 1988 team was particularly promising, but that Monaghan boss Sean McCague effectively did a number on them. The Farney county were underdogs, but they were able to nullify the influence of Plunkett Donaghy and Eugene McKenna.

This was a bruising encounter that that ended in somewhat controversial circumstances as Tyrone claimed that they were denied a cast iron penalty. The great Nudie Hughes, who won an All-Star as an attacker and a defender, scored the decisive goal. A couple of other breaks went Monaghan’s way, but we might as well note that they weren’t to win another championship game against Tyrone for another 26 years.

Overcoming an early scare
2005 Round Four Qualifier
Tyrone 2-14 Monaghan 1-7

IT’S hard to believe that the All-Ireland champions-in-waiting left themselves such a mountain to climb against Monaghan in 2005, but that was certainly the case as they trailed by six points at one stage.

A ferocious opening from Monaghan left Tyrone temporarily shell-shocked, but Mickey Harte’s side regrouped and stamped their authority on proceedings.

Stephen O’Neill hit 2-6 to cap a superb personal performance, and Sean Cavanagh delivered a storming second-half performance from midfield, setting up an All-Ireland quarter-final against Dublin.

Early Jordan goal paves the way
2007 Ulster Championship final
Tyrone 1-15 Monaghan 1-13

A CAPACITY crowd of 33,823 under searing heat at Clones witnessed a thoroughly entertaining game as Tyrone claimed their first Ulster title since 2003. Monaghan were appearing in their first provincial showdown in 19 years, and while they played with all the heart you might expect from a Seamus McEnaney team, they were outdone by a classy Tyrone side. Philip Jordan scored a fine early goal, while Sean Cavanagh scored some magnificent points in the second half.

Monaghan fought to the bitter end, spurred on by a Tommy Freeman goal, but Tyrone held firm and took the spoils.

Life in the oul’ boys yet
2010 Ulster Championship Final
Tyrone 1-14 Monaghan 0-7

IN the immediate aftermath of this match, veteran defender Ryan McMenamin admitted they’d been stung by criticism suggesting he and his colleagues were effectively past it. It’s fair to say they had a point to prove, and they used all their experience to smother the Farney county attack.

For long periods, it was like men against boys, and Colm Cavanagh applied the coup de grace with a late second-half goal. Stephen O’Neill wasn’t able to play through injury, but it didn’t really matter as Tyrone had 10 different scorers on the day.Brian Dooher, now the team’s joint-manager, lifted the Anglo Celt for the second year in-a-row, and they ended up losing narrowly to Dublin in the last eight.

Joe Brolly throws a fuse
2013 All-Ireland Championship quarter-final
Tyrone 0-14 Monaghan 0-12

MONAGHAN were Ulster champions while Tyrone had built up a head of steam through the Qualifiers, and it was as heated as you might expect.

There was some fantastic play from both sides, in fairness – Sean Cavanagh lit up the first half with three points from play, while Joe McMahon scored a remarkable point from halfway out the pitch.

However, the game was overshadowed by an incident in the second half when Cavanagh dragged Monaghan star Conor McManus to the ground when a goal was on the cards. It’s fair to say that Joe Brolly wasn’t a happy bunny on the Sunday Game – ‘ye can forget about him as a man’ and all that.

Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but Tyrone also deserved credit for unexpectedly making the All-Ireland semis after losing to Donegal in the first round of the championship.

Croker hex continues
2015 All-Ireland Quarter-Final
Tyrone 0-18 Monaghan 0-14

THE Farney clinched a rare victory over Tyrone when they met in the 2014 Ulster Championship semi-final. However, once again, the Red Hands did it when it really mattered in the knock-out rounds of the championship.Typical of the rivalry, it was another fiery clash – Monaghan finished with 13 men with Darren Hughes and Paul Finlay were sent off in the closing stages, while Tyrone lost Ronan McNamee to a second yellow late on as well.

Connor McAliskey scored seven points, albeit most from frees, while Darren McCurry was also in fine form as the Red Hands booked their place in an All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry.

That Conor McManus point
2018 Ulster Championship Quarter-Final
Monaghan1-18 Tyrone1-16

THIS was a cracking contest, but the game is perhaps best remembered for an outrageous insurance score from Monaghan forward Conor McManus.

In rainy conditions at Healy Park, McManus collected the ball right on the sideline as the clock ticked into the injury time, and with no room to manoeuvre, launched the ball high and over the bar with a serious amount to spare (it was later described by Oisin McConville as the greatest point in Ulster Championship history).

The Farney county had won just a single championship victory over Tyrone in their previous five attempts, and while they were understandably conservative early on, grew into the game and were slightly deserving victors on the day. Tyrone dusted them down, however, and they met again later in the summer.

“I kicked the ball and was, like ‘oh’”
Tyrone 1-13 Monaghan 0-15

A FANTASTIC day for Tyrone football as they reached the All-Ireland final for the first-time in a decade, but it could easily have gone to extra-time only for a late rush of blood to the head from Rory Beggan, who spoke about the mishap in an interview later that year.

With Monaghan searching for an equaliser, their goalkeeper came outfield and went for glory from way out the pitch, but he miscued and the ball went harmlessly wide.

A captivating Ulster derby that was nip and tuck for most of the game, Tyrone pushed for home in the 64th minute with a superbly taken soccer-style goal from Niall Sludden.

However, late points from Drew Wylie and Kieran Hughes made for an especially tense finish, but the Red Hands held on in front of a crowd of 50,000 people at Croke Park.

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