CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE GIVES WELCOME BOOST TO MONAGHAN

1 June 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Evidence of strength in depth gives seniors and minors
confidence for future tests. by COLM SHALVEY

It may only have been Ulster first-round day against Antrim last Sunday, but it was one to remember for Monaghan football in Clones, as it was a first double success for the senior and minor teams on the one day in 18 years. The Farney County had come through the first round in both competitions in 2007 and 2001, but this was the first time they both won at the same venue since Cavan were defeated on the double in 1994.

Many of Monaghan’s minors weren’t even born when the county last came away with two Ulster championship wins on the same day, but they got last Sunday’s proceedings off to a flying start with a comfortable victory. They kicked it off with a flourish, finding the net twice in the first ten minutes through Conor McCarthy and David McAlister, and could afford to go scoreless from then until two minutes into the second half. Antrim didn’t score after Eoin Fleming found the net from a penalty on 28 minutes, as Monaghan picked off nine unanswered points after the restart.
Pádraic Keenan gave another industrious performance, linking defence and attack, as did Ryan McAnespie. Brian Greenan and James McElroy were on top in midfield, Barry Hanratty and Ryan Wylie controlled things at the back and McCarthy, McAlister and Fergal McGeough were always threatening in attack.
Tougher tests lie ahead than that posed by Antrim, but this team have a work ethic and a willingness to play to a system that bodes well for their chances of overcoming the winners of Sunday’s game between Down and Fermanagh.

The stage was set for the seniors to book their place in the Ulster semi-finals on June 24 and they made a blistering start when Karl O’Connell sped past the Antrim defence in the opening attack.
The Tyholland debutant’s first shot was kept out by Antrim keeper Chris Kerr, but there was no stopping the rebound, which was timed at 32 seconds, making it one …

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