5 March 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan face an uphill battle in the Allianz National Football League Division One after a disastrous trip to McHale Park last Sunday. by COLM SHALVEY

Monaghan went into last Sunday’s match away to Mayo in confident mood after encouraging performances against Tyrone and Cork, but left MacHale Park with their Division One campaign facing a different trajectory after a game dominated by red cards.

Monaghan suffered a major setback before the game even began when Conor McManus was ruled out, with Darren Hughes also not fit to start. While Monaghan stayed in contention throughout the first half, Stephen Gollogly’s 28th-minute sending-off after an off-the-ball incident was a serious blow to their chances. Monaghan were still within two points ten minutes into the second half, but quick points by Aidan O’Shea, Diarmuid O’Connor and Mark Ronaldson pulled Mayo clear, before the opening goal by O’Shea (so influential at full-forward) killed the game off. The wheels then came off for Monaghan, with Ryan Wylie’s dismissal for shoving Ronaldson over the sideline opening the floodgates for Mayo to pull away with late goals by substitutes Alan Freeman and Mikey Sweeney.

Monaghan’s discipline is something Malachy O’Rourke will be keen to address in the coming weeks, but again the performance of referee Rory Hickey did not meet top-flight standards. Mayo’s first goal came after two blatant fouls on Ryan McAnespie – the second of which ….


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