MONAGHAN HOPE TO HOME IN ON MORE BIG MATCH CELEBRATIONS

2 August 2013 No Comments by The Northern Standard

The big days continue to come for Monaghan with the county’s senior and minor footballers both going in search of places in the All-Ireland semi-finals this weekend.by COLM SHALVEY

After winning a long-awaited Ulster title just under two weeks ago, Monaghan now have a chance to get another monkey off their backs by defeating a Tyrone team who have all too often proved an insurmountable roadblock in the past. Monaghan have lost four times to Mickey Harte’s Tyrone in the championship, including Ulster finals in 2007 and 2010, so they won’t lack motivation for this one. With the celebrations firmly gone from the players’ minds by this stage, they will mean business and they will need to bring the same sort of intensity and work-rate they showed against Donegal.

Tyrone, who were pipped at the post by Dublin in the NFL Division One Final, lost to Donegal in the Ulster quarter-finals, but have taken the by now well-worn path through the back door with wins over Offaly, Roscommon, Kildare and Meath. The Red Hand men came under real pressure from Meath last Saturday in a game which they eventually won by two points.

Seán Cavanagh has been in fine form for Tyrone, particularly against Meath, so Monaghan will need to have a plan to nullify him. With Owen Lennon and Darren Hughes expected to be able to concentrate on their own game, it remains to be seen who will be handed the task of picking up Tyrone’s key man, with Vincent Corey a possibility after his excellent handling of Michael Murphy. Further back, Drew Wylie and Colin Walshe will hope to continue their impressive form against Stephen O’Neill and Darren McCurry, while Dessie Mone will also look to keep his going, possibly against Mattie Donnelly, who has been Tyrone’s top scorer from play in the championship so far.

Up front, Conor McManus, Kieran Hughes and Paul Finlay will be expected to chip in on the scoreboard, while Tommy Freeman and Christopher McGuinness provide options off the bench. This game looks likely to come too soon for injury victim Owen Duffy, who shone at HQ in the NFL Division Three Final win over Meath, but Stephen Gollogly should be back after he went off injured against Donegal.

This is only Monaghan’s second All-Ireland quarter-final since their introduction in 2001, with the previous appearance ending in a heartbreaking defeat against …

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