22 June 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard


Monaghan will be hopeful of booking their place in a first Ulster Minor Football Championship Final since 2008 when they take on Down in Armagh on Sunday. After a solid Ulster Minor Football League campaign and an impressive first-round championship win over Antrim, hopes are high that Monaghan can make a rare appearance in the curtain-raiser on July 22. Monaghan have been in just two finals in this competition since 1983 and of course haven’t won the Liam Murray Cup since 1945, so a win on Sunday would be a huge result for the county. Monaghan pulled away in the second half, during which they kept Antrim scoreless, to run out comfortable winners in Clones on May 27 and they will be determined to take that sort of form into the semi-finals.
Down needed a goal from Jack Haughey ten minutes from time to see off Fermanagh in the first round by 1-11 to 1-8, but they did have nine scorers over the hour, which will be an encouragement to their manager, Pete McGrath, who of course led Down to All-Ireland senior wins in 1991 and 1994.
Down finished bottom of Group A of the Ulster MFL, two points and three places behind Monaghan, who beat them in the first round at Clones. 11 of the 18 Down players who featured in that game were involved against Fermanagh, compared to 13 of Monaghan’s 18 who went on to defeat Antrim.
Monaghan have built their game around hard work and sticking to their system. Captain Pádraic Keenan is the real driving force behind the team, while Ryan McAnespie also plays a key role shuttling between the half-forward and …

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