ULSTER UNIVERSITY BEAT NEW-LOOK MONAGHAN

8 January 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Ulster University  2-16

Monaghan 1-09

By JOHN GRAHAM

Monaghan fielded a largely experimental side in this opening round match of this year’s Bank of Ireland sponsored Dr McKenna Cup but it turned into a very disappointing afternoon in Clones on Sunday last as they were completely outplayed by a much more cohesive Ulster University side who recorded a deserved victory.

In the corresponding fixture last year Monaghan defeated the students in Castleblayney but only three of that team started on Sunday last as Malachy O’Rourke used the game to run the rule over potential National League panellists, although overall he will have been somewhat disappointed that players did not respond to the challenge to stake a claim for recognition.

Monaghan had a number of debutants up on the day but the only one to really impress was Doohamlet’s Barry McGinn who finished with 1-3 from his top of the left position, two of the points coming from frees, and a display that marks him down as one for the future.

The Ulster University side was liberally sprinkled with experienced County players as they started five or six of the team that fielded against Monaghan last year and a team that this year included Donegal’s Ryan McHugh and Mayo’s Evan Regan.

The students controlled this game almost from start to finish, they dominated the aerial exchanges around the middle third through the industry of Michael Argue and Niall McKeever and their ability to retain possession and recycle the ball effectively was something that Monaghan found difficult to contain.

It was an even enough contest in the opening quarter and entering the final 15 minutes of the first half the sides were level at 3 points apiece, but from there to the break the writing was on the wall for Monaghan as the students increased the tempo to push on to lead by four points at half-time and they could very well have been further in front.

Monaghan were not completely out of it at this stage as the did carve out a number of chances but simply failed to convert them.

It was a fairly quiet opening 10 minutes or so in the second-half before Monaghan got themselves back into contention with a goal and a point inside a minute, Owen Duffy with a point and Barry McGinn with…

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