30 August 2013 No Comments by The Northern Standard

If there is one word that sums up Monaghan supporters this year, it is probably: brilliant. Monaghan’s disappointing defeat last Sunday at Croke Park means their long-awaited moment in the sun has to wait. by COLM SHALVEY

Sunday proved to be another fruitless trip to Croke Park for Monaghan’s loyal supporters, but it was a long hot summer for the Farney Army, who had an unprecedented level of success to cheer.With the seniors and minor footballers both winning Ulster titles on the same day for the first time ever in Clones on July 21 and the teams giving the county’s followers three days out at headquarters between the league and championship.

Monaghan’s fans, who mainly gathered in decent pockets in the lower tiers of the Cusack and Hogan Stands on Sunday, had precious little to shout about last week, however, as the minors struggled to get to grips with an impressive Mayo team.

Even when Conor McCarthy scored a brilliant goal to bring Monaghan level in the 23rd minute, the joy was short-lived, as Mayo almost immediately found the net and they never looked back from there. Like in the Ulster minor final, when Monaghan were roared on by a big support, especially in the closing stages, Mayo’s young players seemed to be inspired by playing in front of a big following from the west. The bulk of the Mayo support got in early to back their minors, although one of the biggest cheers of the first match was an ironic one – when Hawkeye correctly ruled that Dessie Ward’s 15th-minute shot had gone wide, a week after the new system caused controversy in the All-Ireland minor hurling semi-final between Galway and Limerick.

The eircom-sponsored ‘fanpic’ on Sunday – a first ever 360-degree photo of the entire crowd at Croke Park – featured some glum Monaghan faces midway through the first half of the second match and the massive Mayo crowd had their own reasons to worry around that time, when their seniors looked to be struggling to live up to their status as favourites against Tyrone.

Mayo took a long time to get going and they kicked a string of bad wides in the first half, but …

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