DOWN NEXT ON THE AGENDA FOR WORKMAN-LIKE MONAGHAN

8 June 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan can approach their Ulster SFC semi-final with confidence if Down’s travails against 14-man Fermanagh are a gauge. by KEVIN CARNEY

Monaghan now stand between Down and a first appearance in an Ulster SFC final in nine years following the Mourne county’s workmanlike win over Fermanagh last weekend.
The intensity and work-rate demonstrated by James McCartan’s troops suggests that the June 24th provincial semi-final shoot-out between his side and Monaghan will be a test of the ‘survival of the fittest’.
In such a scenario, discipline is likely to be a key part of the winners’ locker. The 14-man syndrome is still the exception rather than the norm and Eamonn McEneaney and his opposite number can only hope and pray that the fervour of their charges is matched by a sense of responsibility and calmness in the line of fire.
The statisticians will be out in force in the run up to the June 24th head-to-head and we’ll be reminded ad nauseum that while Down reached the semi-finals of this year’s Division One NFL, Monaghan were relegated to Division Three.
However, statistics can be used to account for almost every sporting prophesy and can be even used to justify the serial winnings of yer local turf accountant.
Lou Piniella, the baseball coach, had a thing about stats. He said they were like bikinis – they show a lot but hide the key bits.
Whether or not Peter Canavan’s citing of injury in his camp last week was merely a fig leaf for the absence from Fermanagh’s starting line up of top scorer Seamus Quigley is a moot point.
The most significant stat to emerge during the game at Brewster Park was that after just 8 minutes, the Ernesiders were left to do battle with a man short.
Daryl Keenan’s dismissal, for an off-the-ball incident with Down’s top man Conor Laverty left Fermanagh’s finest with a mountainous challenge to overcome, albeit on home soil.
Championship games are played at 100 mph in Ulster and even in the tepid heat …

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