Clinical Mons Rub Salt In Devon's Wounds

1 April 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan United 3
Salthill Devon 0

Monaghan United moved smoothly into third place in the Airtricity League Division One when they clinically dispatched the challenge of Salthill Devon at Gortakeegan Friday night, writes Peter Hughes.
While there was evidence prior to it that the Mons were going to have too much class and movement for a shaky-looking Salthill side, the ninth minute sending off of the visitors’ midfielder Mike Quirke for violent conduct put the opposition at an insurmountable disadvantage.
The victim of Quirke’s petulant push under the nose of referee John Grimes was Sean Brennan, no surprise really as the United attacker looked unstoppable by legal means in the early stages.
His first minute free-kick had seen unmarked Eric Foley cannon a header off the Salthill bar. Then, eight minutes later, Brennan, revelling in a free role, drove through the Devon defence from deep, his stylish slalom ending with an accomplished left-foot finish past Ronan Forde.
Salthill’s Irish youth international keeper stood between his side and a hammering in the immediate aftermath of Quirke’s dismissal.
A fine, fluent 13th minute build-up saw Brennan flash in a shot from just outside the box that Forde kept out with a fine save, the ‘keeper following up three minutes later with another diving stop to turn a further Brennan effort around the post. A meaty John Reilly drive from distance also saw Forde shine.
The United performance sputtered a bit after that, but the best Salthill could muster by way of retaliation was a harmless enough drive from Cian McBride that drifted wide.
In the 36th minute the Mons were back in high gear. Foley, who struck some superb passes out of midfield on Friday, sent an incisive pass into the Devon box. Brennan killed it and directed the ball deftly into the path of Jason Marks who sent a first-time left-footer screeching into the top corner.
A minute from the interval the Mons were on easy street. Shane Grimes, bombing down the left flank, whipped a pass for the imperious Brennan, who, after working an interchange with Marks, beat Forde for the second time with a cool finish.
Game over, effectively, and the second half sadly suffered as a spectacle as a result. United put a good deal of endeavour into adding to their tally, but they never recaptured the best of their first half fluency. Salthill, meantime, found reserves of resistance and salvaged some pride by working hard to keep the home side at bay.
The Mons also underwent several second half metamorphoses as manager Roddy Collins opted to run the rule over his squad. Andy Haran played the whole of the second half but although he took a good save from Forde two minutes in, didn’t mount a powerful argument to oust any of the attacking incumbents.
Haran’s introduction was part of a considerable reshuffle which saw centreback Dave Rogers, booked unnecessarily for dissent in the first half, withdrawn from harm’s way, Conor McMahon dropping back to take his place from the defensive midfield berth he had discharged very comfortably.
Full report in The Northern Standard

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