23 July 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

“Sweet” was the word on the lips of every player interviewed after they won a second Ulster title in three years at St Tiarnach’s Park,Clones, last Sunday. by COLM SHALVEY

The euphoria of the shock win in 2013 was replaced by a sense of satisfaction that Monaghan players and manager Malachy O’Rourke all spoke about, after proving that the victory of two years ago was no one-off and that more credit was due to them.

Monaghan nerves were jangling in a gripping finish, but they held on for a dramatic win, which sparked jubilant celebrations at a full-to-capacity St. Tiarnach’s Park; another reminder to opponents of the provincial championships that they still matter. Having qualified for a third consecutive Ulster final for the first time since the 1920s, Monaghan have now won two titles in such quick succession for the first time since their last back-to-back double in 1929 and 1930.

Like in the 2013 final, Monaghan were sitting pretty at half-time with a double-scores lead (0-8 to 0-4), but this time, they had to recover from a slow start to put themselves in a commanding position with an impressive second quarter. Donegal got off to a flying start with three points in the first five minutes, but amazingly, they only scored one more point from play, which came a full hour later, by which stage Monaghan had hit eight from play. Donegal did kick 15 wides, including 11 in the second half, but Monaghan’s defence can claim plenty of credit for putting their opponents under pressure and often forcing them to shoot from distance.

Monaghan had another game-plan expertly devised by O’Rourke and co., which was accurately described as a “masterclass” by …


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