KEEGAN STAR TURN HELPS MONAGHAN TO VITAL DERBY TRIUMPH AT ORIEL PARK

24 May 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan Utd 2
Dundalk 1
CILLIAN O’DOWD reports from Gortakeegan

N OUTSTANDING performance by attacking midfielder Jordan Keegan was pivotal to Monaghan United securing a vital away victory in the fervid derby atmosphere of Oriel Park last Friday night, when the Mons came from behind to inflict defeat on their north-east rivals Dundalk.
The poverty of much of the football on display before a large – and, from the home partisans’ perspective, largely malcontented – attendance showed the challenges facing both sides in preserving their Premier Division status this campaign.
But on a night when victory rather than the manner of its achievement was the ruling consideration, United’s Jordan Keegan – who has reportedly been attracting scouting interest from across the water with the calibre of his displays this season – stepped up to the mark with some inspirational moments that helped his side recover from the sledgehammer blow of a goal concession in the opening seconds of the match.
Dundalk caught United cold with their first attack of the game. Michael Rafter got free of the defensive cover with a burst of pace and close control, and he carried through on the promise of the opportunity he created with a firm drive past the startled Michael Schlingermann in the Mons goal.
In those wild opening minutes United could have earned themselves a rapid equalizer when Tony Griffith got free in the box to power a header goalwards, only for Dundalk goalkeeper Peter Cherrie to anticipate the direction of the effort well and save comfortably.
Opportunities, often arising out of an inability of the opposition to preserve possession for any meaningful time, continued to arise for both sides.
Gareth Coughlan for Dundalk failed to keep his shot on target after Eoghan Osborne had opened up a promising opportunity, while Stephen Maher for the Mons was equally profligate after a defensive lapse by the home side. Michael Rafter then drove wide for Dundalk with Schlingermann at full stretch.
A Rafter header at the midpoint of the half was …

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