Harps muted by Mons winning mentality

10 September 2010 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan United showed no signs of meltdown in the furnace heat of campaigning on three competitive fronts when they summoned a polished, professional performance from the locker to see off a hardy Finn Harps side at Gortakeegan on Friday night, writes Peter Hughes.

Goals from Philly Hughes and substitute Darragh Hanaphy in the opening and concluding scenes of the second half made the difference on the scoreboard.  But it was the way in which the Mons engaged with their difficult opponents that prepared the soil for this promotion-aiding victory to bloom.

The weather eye being kept in the Press box on the fortunes of United’s rivals for the precious admission passes to the Premier Division in the night’s other games gave an early hint of the tension which will prevail as the First Division campaign heads into its crucial final weeks.

But United are thriving, not wilting, in the hothouse environment.

Friday night’s game opened with a scare, however.  Finn Harps carved out a great opening minute chance when, after a Kevin McHugh-Mark Forker conspiracy, Oisin McMenamin found himself in prime position for a kill shot just inside the United penalty area.

But the young striker opted to smuggle the ball wide for incoming winger Mark Brolly rather than pulling the trigger himself and the opportunity for a dream start to the game for James Gallagher’s charges was snuffed out by the tightly regrouping Monaghan defence.

Tommy Bonner’s wild lash at the ball a few minutes later after good work from Brolly squandered another feasible Harps chance, and there were to be precious few of them for the next half-hour or so as both sides put the shutters up.

Cathal O’Connor worked hard to breach the Harps defences with acute runs from midfield, but he was caught in an offside web in the ninth minute, and a little later failed to get a clean hit on the ball after Karl Bermingham had flicked on Alan Byrne’s windmill throw.

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