9 April 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan go into Sunday’s Allianz NFL Div One semi-final rematch with Dublin seeking to atone for last weekend’s disappointment. by COLM SHALVEY

Sunday’s loss to the holders was a first league defeat for Monaghan at St. Tiarnach’s Park under Malachy O’Rourke and a first since the Dubs last won there, by the narrowest of margins, in March 2011; almost 1,500 days ago. Over 10,000 supporters, including a big away contingent, watched Monaghan come back to earth after their win over Kerry, although they still finished third in the table. Monaghan knew that only an unlikely sequence of results would deprive them of a semi-final place and with the Donegal v Mayo and Tyrone v Kerry games both resulting in draws, their eight points proved enough.

Monaghan were in big trouble within five minutes of the start, as a ruthless Dublin team rattled in 1-2 via fine points from corner-forwards Kevin McManamon and Bernard Brogan and a terrific goal by debutant Brian Fenton at the end of a move led by defenders Jack McCaffrey and Eoin Culligan. Monaghan gradually dragged their way back into the game, only to concede the last three points of the first half, which left them trailing by seven. Monaghan went 25 minutes without scoring after Rory Beggan converted a 37th-minute ’45 as Dublin stretched their lead with an unanswered eight points. 11 players got on the scoresheet for the visitors, including four substitutes, as they broke through the 20-point mark once again. Points by subs Ryan McAnespie, Thomas Kerr and Shane Carey and a Darren Hughes goal (only the second Dublin have conceded in the league) after Kerr had hit the crossbar saw Monaghan at least salvage some pride in the closing stages, but only after they had kicked seven second-half wides.

Dublin’s dominance was built around the platform provided by their half-backs and half-forwards, while Rory …

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