RETURNING HUGHES HELPS MONAGHAN DROWN DONEGAL

18 January 2013 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan 3-16
Donegal 1-05

MONAGHAN cruised to what was ultimately a facile victory over a totally makeshift Donegal side in this quite one-sided Dr McKenna Cup second-round match that was played in our difficult conditions in Ballybofey in front of a crowd of less than 1’000 on Sunday last.
This game was only a contest for a short period in the first half when Donegal got the margin back to a single point with six minutes remaining in the first half but thereafter it was a veritable procession as Monaghan increased the tempo and Donegal had little by way of response.
To keep that in perspective though it must be measured in the context of the team that Donegal fielded on the day with just five of last year’s substitutes in the Ulster final named on the panel, a number of U21 players and a number of younger lads who have been drafted in.
Monaghan in contrast fielded a team with a strong central spine, Dessie Mone in his more accustomed role at centre back, Owen Lennon and Darren Hughes in midfield with Paul McArdle on the ‘40 and Conor McManus on the square giving them a more familiar look. Malachy O’Rourke though made 10 changes from the team that started against St Mary’s in Monaghan’s previous match, a whole new full-back line where Owen Coyle was outstanding in the corner back berth, wing half backs Kieran Duffy and Conor Galligan working well with Dessie Mone, Galligan driving forward on a number of occasions to good effect while in midfield Darren Hughes orchestrated most of what Monaghan were creating particularly going forward and Owen Lennon too showed extremely well.
Monaghan’s dominance in the middle third was cemented with the standing display of Kieran Hughes at wing half forward whose fielding and finishing were superb, kicking five points in all, in his first appearance of the season. Paul McArdle got off the mark in the scoring stakes on the 40 with two points from frees and Conor McManus proved a real handful for the Donegal full-back line, getting good support from Keith McEnaney whose goal just 30 seconds into the second-half kick started Monaghan’s onward march. Monaghan used their full complement of substitutes with Dermot Malone showing well when introduced, registering 1-2 as Monaghan recorded …

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