20 January 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By John Graham
For Monaghan the Dr McKenna Cup game against Doown was a game where nothing went the way they had planned or the way they hoped. Mark Keogh was beaten four times but did well with a couple of other efforts although his positioning was partly responsible for one of the goals.
Dermot Malone was the pick of the Monaghan defence while Carl O’Connell and Ronan McNally tried hard along with Vinny Corey but it was an area that was under severe pressure at times.
Carl O’Connell was particularly unlucky in conceding Down’s fourth goal. He took off a great interception to halt a Down attack but as he cut across he lost possession to Benny Coulter who had a clear run and almost walked the ball in past a stranded Mark Keogh.
Monaghan were totally outplayed in midfield despite the best efforts of James Turley who worked hard throughout but with little reward.
In the second half Peter O’Hanlon and Darren Hughes wrested some of the advantage from Down, O’Hanlon showing some nice touches and some of his kick passes were excellent.
Up front Ciaran Hanratty impressed all through with his willingness to show and come off his marker and he was a trifle unlucky not to register more than the two points he got.
Paul Finlay excelled in the second half but overall Monaghan lacked the pace, the guile and the finish that were hallmarks of Down’s display as they struggled for scores and but for the accuracy of Paul Finlay who registered eight of their 11 points, five of those coming from frees, it would have been an even poorer day.

Down made four changes from the team that started against Armagh with Kevin Duffin, Mark Doran, Ambrose Rogers and Benny Coulter starting this time around.
Danny Hughes was rested but was introduced as a substitute as James McCartan also used the occasion to empty his bench as he gave five of his substitutes game time and …

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