13 April 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Omagh venue proves unhappy hunting ground once again with work to do before championship. by COLM SHALVEY

Monaghan’s second successive relegation in the Allianz National Football League was confirmed by last Sunday’s 1-16 to 1-6 defeat away to Tyrone.
Monaghan have not had any wins at senior level in Omagh for some time, but they have at least been able to go to places like Healy Park with some hope of taking a result. There was a sense of inevitability about last Sunday’s game, however, with Tyrone backing up their status as huge favourites by making it 12 wins from as many games in competitive action this year. The result emphasised the widening gulf between the teams, with Tyrone building another side who will have All-Ireland ambitions this year.
The stats make stark reading for Monaghan, who managed just two scores from play, both from substitutes; Ciarán Hanratty and Tommy Freeman. Paul Finlay was the only starting player to score, with four points from frees. The Ballybay forward accounted for just short of a third of Monaghan’s total in the National Football League, a ratio which rises to almost two-fifths when the Dr. McKenna Cup is included.
Hanratty added some much-needed spark when he came on at half-time and he made an immediate impact, taking a pass from Neil McAdam and speeding past the Tyrone defence to slide the ball beyond Pascal McConnell within 20 seconds of the Castleblayney forward’s introduction. It was the only goal Tyrone have conceded in seven league games this year, although they had needed McConnell to use every inch of his big frame to turn a Finlay shot around the post just before half-time. Had that gone in, it would have given Monaghan a fighting chance, but they can have no complaints, even if a late burst by Tyrone, including an injury-time goal by Cathal McCarron moved the gap from six points to ten.
McCarron and Peter Harte were instrumental to Tyrone’s performance, as they got forward from the half-back line to hit 1-2 (a point more than Monaghan’s total from play) and play their part in a number of scores. Despite changing the marker on Kyle Coney a couple of times, Monaghan were unable to counteract the rising Tyrone star, who kicked eight points, including three from play. Owen Mulligan and an unusually-withdrawn Stephen O’Neill were held scoreless from play, but Tyrone still had enough of a threat to run out comfortable winners.
With just five wins from 22 competitive matches, no wins outside Monaghan and a lack of back-to-back victories, Eamon McEneaney is under pressure now to deliver an Ulster title. McEneaney has talked about regrouping the team for the championship and players have spoken about the year all being about May 27 and the game against Antrim but on current form, Monaghan won’t be looking forward to a long summer.
McEneaney hasn’t had much luck in the job, the loss of home advantage against Galway and the absences of key players being prime examples. Tommy Freeman and Conor McManus started just one league …

Comments are closed.