FEET FIRMLY ON GROUND DESPITE WINNING START TO MCKENNA CUP

11 January 2013 No Comments by The Northern Standard

New Monaghan manager will take the positives as his side passes the University exam – but toughers tests await by COLM SHALVEY …
Nobody is going to get carried away with a four-point win over an understrength St. Mary’s University side in the first round of the Power NI Dr. McKenna Cup, but there were a few reasons to be positive in Monaghan’s performance in Clones last Sunday.
New manager Malachy O’Rourke will be happy with how his team performed in the first half, but he will know that they still have a lot of work to do after struggling in the second half against a team who were missing a number of their county players.
Monaghan had the game all but won by the half-hour mark, when they led by 10 points, even though careless finishing that saw the hosts rack up 14 wides opened the door for St. Mary’s to gradually eat into their deficit in the second half, without looking like catching up.
Six players made their McKenna Cup debuts over the course of the 70 minutes, with four of those starting the game: Fintan Kelly at full-back, Stephen Smyth and Paul McArdle in the half-forward line and Pádraig Donaghy at top of the right.
The most impressive of the newcomers was Smyth; the Currin forward …

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