D-DAY FOR MONAGHAN’S NFL BATTLE

31 March 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan’s battle to maintain their Allianz National Football League Division One status goes into Sunday’s final round after a fourth consecutive defeat. by COLM SHALVEY

Monaghan now need a win against Donegal in Castleblayney and for at least one other result to go their way if they are to stay up. Assuming Mayo continue their resurgence against already-relegated Down, Monaghan will need Cork to lose to Kerry to keep the escape hatch open. It’s all a long way from this time last year and even from two rounds into the current campaign, when they already had four points on the table. Many people felt after letting a winnable game slip against Cork at Sunday’s venue in 2015 that Monaghan could be left to regret that result, but it turned out not to matter as they not only stayed clear of relegation but progressed into the semi-finals. This time around, Malachy O’Rourke’s men left at least one potentially crucial result behind them on consecutive weekends against Dublin and Mayo and they have gone down uncharacteristically tamely versus Cork and Kerry. Last Sunday saw Kerry produce an impressive second-half performance to put Monaghan to the sword in Clones. The Kingdom’s manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice spoke about his team “smarting a bit” from losing to Monaghan in Tralee last year and they were clearly up for this game, which saw them all but secure a semi-final place. It was a fourth win in a row – and a third over Ulster opponents – for the Munster champions, who hit 1-11 in the second half. Monaghan could feel disappointed to only go in level at half-time, although Kerry had a strong 35th-minute penalty appeal for a jersey-pull on Colm Cooper, who hit 0-6. The visitors wasted no time in showing Monaghan how to put wind advantage to good use after the…

Pic 9 Monaghan V Kerry

UP FOR IT: David Moran (Kerry) and Kieran Hughes (Monaghan) at Clones last Sunday PICTURES © NORTHERN STANDARD

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