15 April 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

MAYO 2-13


Despite recording a dramatic victory over Mayo, their first in the league since 1986, Monaghan are still relegated to division 2 for next season based on the result of their head-to-head meeting with Armagh who also lost last Sunday but whose one-point victory over Monaghan earlier keeps them in the top flight.
That left the aftermath of this high scoring and hugely entertaining encounter in sun-kissed Inniskeen giving something of a bittersweet taste in that ultimately it was something of a pyrrhic victory.
Despite relegation though Monaghan can take a lot out of this match. Paul Finlay was simply superb, scoring 11 points, nine from frees, and Tomas Freeman is almost back to his razor-sharp best as he finished with 1-3.
This was a game too where Eamonn McEneaney was in a position to introduce some of those who are returning to fitness following lengthy layoffs through injury with Stephen Gollogly, Mark McNally and Dermot McArdle all featuring

This was a game that saw both sides dominating for lengthy periods, Monaghan shading the midfield battle and in the second half in particular that aspect of play saw Mayo coming under increasing pressure where indiscipline cost them a series of frees that Paul Finlay ruthlessly punished to edge Monaghan in front on a number of occasions.
Darren Hughes who started at full-back and later played further outfield was the real driving force behind this Monaghan victory and his work rate along with the strongman tactics of Dessie Mone at centre back epitomised Monaghan’s approach on the day.
Owen Lennon got through a mountain of work in midfield and got a hand on a lot of ball around that area with great support from Neil McAdam.
In attack Dick Clerkin was a real powerhouse at wing half forward with his surging runs especially in the second half, with Tomas Freeman, Paul Finlay and Conor McManus accounting for all but one point of Monaghan’s total, although McManus probably operates better in a wider position than that of centre half forward where he started on Sunday last.
There were times though when Monaghan fell back into their old ways but each time they were able to resurrect their prospects with a display of real character right throughout the side as players who had perhaps taken a wrong option worked harder to compensate.

Full report and analysis in The Northern Standard

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