THOUGHTS TURN TO ALL-IRELAND QUARTER FINAL AFTER MINORS FALL JUST SHORT

27 July 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan’s failure to launch in front of the Tyrone goal means that the long wait for provincial honours at Minor level will be prepetuated. by COLM SHALVEY
Monaghan’s 67-year Ulster Minor Football Championship famine goes on after last Sunday’s final defeat against Tyrone in Clones. Monaghan had come from five points down to hit an unanswered 1-3 either side of the interval to take the lead, but they missed chances to go further ahead and they were left to regret it, as Tyrone hit five unanswered points to turn the game in their favour. Monaghan needed to be ruthless in front of goal, but a couple of openings went untaken. The first came in the seventh minute when Adam Treanor was just unable to hold onto a dangerous pass from Ryan McAnespie. Also in the first half, David McAlister narrowly failed to connect when a McAnespie shot broke loose on the edge of the square, while Mark Magee had a shot cleared off the line by Ruairí Mullan. In Pádraic Keenan, Monaghan had arguably the game’s most influential player, as the captain put in another inspirational performance, covering every blade of grass and carrying the fight to Tyrone. Ryan Wylie did a good job on Tyrone danger-man Mark Bradley, while Fergal Malone also continued his impressive form in the full-back line and Barry Hanratty, Shaun Buckley, Magee and Shane Conlon worked hard in defence. Monaghan’s midfield of Brian Greenan and James McElroy lost out in the midfield sector, particularly in the second half after McElroy ran out of steam, leaving forwards like Fergal McGeough, Treanor and McAlister starved of possession. McGeough suffered a suspected broken hand and was eventually replaced. Conor McCarthy top-scored with 1-2, but went out of the game after picking up a knock at the end of the first half, while McAnespie gave his customary livewire display.
Substitute forwards Fearghal McMahon and Dessie Ward were left to feed off scraps, while Colin Hughes was unable to turn the tide around the middle, despite kicking a late point, and Donnacha Dolan couldn’t get on to a couple of long balls launched in when he was introduced at full-forward.
Kieran McGeary and Seán Hackett shone in attack for Tyrone, while Rory Brennan and Anthony Devlin were on top at midfield and the full-back line of Mullan, Pádraig Hampsey and Caolán Harvey gave little away. They were also able to bring on subs of the calibre of Daniel McNulty and Michael Cassidy.
Attentions now turn to the All-Ireland MFC quarter-final against Leinster champions Dublin, which will be played on the weekend of August 4-6. Dublin had a very impressive win over Meath in the Leinster final, so Monaghan will once again be underdogs but, like every challenge they have faced so far, it is one that these players will …

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