Monaghan as they did in last seasons Allianz Football League claimed the Dubs scalp in a tough opening day encounter this afternoon in Clones.
There were plenty of talking points throughout including the black cards for Dublin’s John Small and Robert McDaid in the first half, despite those Jim Gavin’s men led at the break by two and when that lead was doubled early in the second half it looked like the defending league champions would go on and claim the win.
But the introduction Stephen O’Hanlon and Conor McManus turned the game on it’s head, O’Hanlon rattled the back of the Dublin net seconds after his introduction and then he combined with McManus to set up Shane Carey for Monaghan’s second goal of the game.
Dublin started the game brightly and led by five points inside the opening ten minutes thanks to a brace of points from Dean Rock and a great finish to the net by Niall Scully for the games opening goal.
Monaghan got off the mark in the 11th minute with a Michael Brannigan free and after Rock and Brannigan swapped frees, Paul Flynn swung over a fine point to put five points between the sides.
Monaghan weren’t creating chances from open play and were relying on frees to keep a hold on Dublin’s coattails. Jack McCarron converted from free in the 16th minute but two quick fire points from Con O’Callaghan pushed the Dublin lead out to six.
A misplaced kick-out from Evan Comerford forced John Small into fouling McCarron, it hardly constituted anything more than maybe a yellow but referee David Coldrick showed him a black card and ten minutes in the sin bin.
Monaghan McCarron scores the resultant free but Malachy O’Rourke’s men didn’t make the numerical advantage count. Dublin patiently held onto the ball eating into the clock and probing for openings.
With a packed Monaghan defence sitting in Brian Fenton took matters into his own hands and swung over a sublime long range effort.
Michael Darragh Macauley had to leave the field because of a bloody nose the result of a high tackle and was replaced by Robert McDaid.
With ten minutes to go to the break McCarron converted yet another free but to be honest he was a very lucky player to be still on the field of play, he should of been shown a red card for a kick to the back of John Smalls head as he lay on the ground.
A point from Fintan Kelly reduced the deficit to three with five minutes to go to the short whistle.
In the 34th minute blood-sub Robert McDaid became the second Dublin player to been shown a black card and this was a very dubious call, David Garland was been tackled by two Dublin players and he went to ground very easily as soon as contact was felt.
Just before the whistle sounded to end the half Dermot Malone hit a nice point to leave two between the sides with the score 1-07 to 0-08 in Dublin’s favour.
Dublin doubled their lead early in the second half with points from Dean Rock and Con O’Callaghan. But the introduction of Stephen O’Hanlon and Conor McManus turned the game around for Monaghan.
Moments after coming on O’Hanlon put Monaghan in front for the first time in the game. He caught an offensive mark but continued on cue through the Dublin defence and slotted to the net.
McManus also made a telling contribution hitting over a couple of offensive marks before combining with McManus to put in Shane Carey who palmed the ball to the net for the Farney men’s second goal.
Dublin are only back training in the past two weeks and the heavy training looked to have caught up with a number of players looking a little heavy legged. But as all true champions do they battled till the bitter end and reduced the deficit to just two with points from Ryan Basquel with a brace and pointed frees from Cormac Costello and O’Callaghan.
But McManus had the last say and swung over a free in the fifth minute of injury time to seal a famous win for Monaghan by three points.
Scorers for Monaghan: Jack McCarron 0-5 (4f); Conor McManus 0-4f; Stephen O’Hanlon 1-0; Shane Carey 1-0; Micheál Bannigan 0-2f; Fintan Kelly 0-1; Dermot Malone 0-1.
Scorers for Dublin: Con O’Callaghan 0-4 (1f); Dean Rock 0-4 (2f); Niall Scully 1-0; Ryan Basquel 0-2; Brian Fenton 0-1; Paul Flynn 0-1; Cormac Costello 0-1f.
Monaghan: Rory Beggan; Kieran Duffy, Conor Boyle, Ryan Wylie; Karl O’Connell, Barry Kerr, Colin Walshe; Darren Hughes, Fintan Kelly; Ryan McAnespie, Jack McCarron, Shane Carey; David Garland, Dermot Malone, Micheál Bannigan.
Subs: Stephen O’Hanlon for Garland, Conor McManus for Bannigan (both 43), Dessie Ward for O’Connell (60), Conor McCarthy for Malone (68), Neil McAdam for McAnespie (72).
Dublin: Evan Comerford; Michael Fitzsimons, Eric Lowndes, Jonny Cooper; Conor Mullally, Brian Howard, John Small; Brian Fenton, Michael Darragh MacAuley; Paul Flynn, Con O’Callaghan, Niall Scully; Cormac Costello, Paul Mannion, Dean Rock.
Subs: Robert McDaid for MacAuley (temporary, 29), Ryan Basquel for Flynn (48), Conor McHugh for Rock (50), Cian O’Connor for MacAuley (55), Paddy Andrews for Costello (60).
Referee: David Coldrick (Meath). Replaced at half-time by Paudie Hughes (Armagh).