13 March 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

There used to be a time when victories over Monaghan hardly registered on the radar. Not any more. After getting rid of their erstwhile management team, the Mayo footballers earned themselves some slack last Sunday and all the headlines to boot with their NFL Division One win (2-11 1-12) in Clones.

If the final scoreline was a surprise, there was nothing inexplicable about it. After the game, Malachy O’Rourke all but admitted that Monaghan shot themselves in the foot far too often.

Although garnering bucket loads of possession, Monaghan were largely their own worst enemies.

For all that, Monaghan’s latest sparring exercise against the country’s big hitters will hardly leave a psychological scare. The county squad is too resilient, too experienced and too spirited for them not to tough it out over the course of the next three rounds.

That said, going down this Sunday to the deep south to take on a Cork team that put in a heartening display against Dublin at Croker represents yet another hefty challenge for Conor McManus and co. Just how many markers will Cork will employ on the Clontibret Colossus is anyone’s guess but surely such a likely concentration of minds and bodies on the part of the Rebels ought to free up extra time and space for the rest of Monaghan’s forwards to exploit.

There seemed to be as little time and space in Tralee on Sunday last as Barry McGuigan ever found in the ring with claustrophobic one of the most appropriate adjectives that could be used to describe Austin Stack Park’s playing pitch.

There were handbags, haymakers, Ali shuffles, barging, bumping and stand-offs all on view as football sometimes got in the way of a right ‘oul Donegal and Kerry scrap.

Both teams brought forward a championship-like fervour to proceedings. It was just a surprise that Kerry had a five point cushioned lead (1-13 to 1-8) at the final whistle. There was certainly more daylight


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