17 April 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan 0-15
Derry 1-08

PLAYING with fourteen men for the final eight minutes of the first half and finishing with thirteen players proved a bridge too far for Derry as Monaghan built in momentum and in the end won with something to spare at the end of this entertaining if never spectacular Ulster Uner-21 Football Championshp game played in chilly and greasy conditions in Inniskeen last Wednesday night.

Monaghan’s preparations had been the most meticulous for a number of years, taking part in both the Hastings Cup, where they reached the Shield semi-final, where they lost to Kerry and reached the final of the Shamrock Cup where they lost to Tyrone. Those preparations though were evidenced in Monaghan’s performance on the night and the levels of concentration and commitment that they brought at vital times.

Derry for their part came to Inniskeen following their impressive win over Down in the preliminary round but on the night they were not allowed to replicate that winning performance against a hard working Monaghan side, who once they got their noses in front consolidated very effectively. Derry made two late changes with Conor Carville coming in for Jarlath Bradley and Danny Tallon replacing Terence O’Brien but ultimate it was the sending off of midfielder Neil Nicholl in the 23rd minute that proved a turning point for the Oak Leafers.

The opening quarter was a quiet enough affair with both sides taking some time to settle and some evidence of early nerves but it was Monaghan who drew first blood when Brian Greenan finished off a move started by full back Mikey Murnaghan but only after an effort by David Freeman had come back off the upright.

Monaghan did mount a couple of other attacks but no further scores before Derry equalised through Niall Loughlin in the seventh minute. Monaghan re-took the lead with a point from a free by Conor McCarthy after Padraig Keenan had been fouled but Derry struck back for the equaliser in the 10th minute …

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