RYAN O’Toole popped up with a dramatic late goal, on his championship debut no less, to seize victory for Monaghan in today’s Ulster Championship quarter-final against Tyrone at O’Neill’s Healy Park.
The wing-back had the goal at his mercy, six minutes into stoppage time, but it still would have been the easier option to fist over a point and send a remarkable game of football into extra-time.
But he took the risky option and his audacity paid off, beating Niall Morgan at his near post and sending the Monaghan supporters into orbit.
It had been some comeback from Monaghan, who trailed five points at half-time, and they’ll go forward with confidence into a mouth-watering semi-final clash against Derry in a fortnight’s time.
Tyrone have been left to lick their wounds and ponder what might have been after producing a powerful opening 35 minutes worth of football. Darragh Canavan played like a man possessed in the opening exchanges, scoring 1-3 from play in the first 20 minutes, while Monaghan were largely reliant on the evergreen Conor McManus to keep the scoreboard ticking over from frees, something he did with his customary skill and composure.
The Red Hands opened up a 1-10 to 0-8 at the half-time interval, but they came out strongly, playing with real heart and bravery and it wasn’t long before they were eating into Tyrone’s lead with players like Conor McCarthy, Karl O’Connell and Rory Beggan coming to the fore.
The pushed in front with a fine goal from Stephen O’Hanlon midway through the second-half, and the rest of the game was helter skelter stuff. It looked like Tyrone were going to edge proceedings when the impressive Darren McCurry nailed a late score deep into stoppage time, but Ryan O’Toole had the final say with a decisive game-winning goal.