29 April 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan will bid to qualify for the Nicky Rackard Cup semi-finals for the first time since 2013 when they take on Fingal at Castleblayney on Saturday at 2pm. by COLM SHALVEY

A comprehensive win over Fermanagh last week has Monaghan within touching distance of a place in the last four as they bid for a second win over Fingal this year. Monaghan won a high-scoring game on March 13 to boost their bid to make the Allianz National Hurling League Division 3A Final for the second year in a row. Their loss to Roscommon in that decider was Monaghan’s only defeat in their last five competitive games. In contrast, Fingal, who had won their first two league games, went on to lose three on the spin, before returning to winning ways against Longford last weekend. Fingal reached the final of this competition in 2014, where they lost by a point to Tyrone, who also ended their championship run after extra-time at the quarter-final stage last year.

Monaghan were always in command in their opener at Brewster Park, where a hat-trick by Brian McGuigan and further goals from Mark Treanor and Stephen Lambe set the foundations for a comfortable win against a Fermanagh side who played almost an hour with 14 men after Daniel Teague was sent off. Seán Corrigan hit 0-11 for Fermanagh, but they scored just three times in the second half and just once in the last half an hour. Some determined defending by players like Paddy Finnegan, Shane McNally and Jamie Guinan kept Fermanagh at bay as the home side were held scoreless in the final quarter.

Monaghan have had to do without last year’s captain Éanna Mac Suibhne and top scorer Ronan Meegan in 2016, but they have a settled team that has seen Paddy Finnegan, Conor McKenna, Brian McGuigan, Mark Treanor, Fergal Rafter, Stephen Lambe and Niall Garland start all seven competitive games, while Deaglán Crowe, Conor Boyle, Steven Forde, Brian Flanagan, Peter Treanor and Aaron Kenny have all made six starts. Martin Murphy made his first appearance of the year against Fermanagh.

Stephen Lambe has 3-36 to his name, while his tally from play (3-12) is just bettered by Mark …


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