10 June 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan started their defence of the Ulster Senior Football Championship with a comprehensive win over Down at a sun-soaked St. Tiarnach’s Park, Clones, last Sunday. by COLM SHALVEY

Aless-than-convincing first half left half left Monaghan fortunate to be three points to the good, but they turned on the style after the restart to earn the county’s second-biggest ever SFC victory.
Five Conor McManus frees accounted for more than half of Monaghan’s first-half total, but they hit 2-13 in the second half to finish with 2-22; a tally only bettered way back in 1930 in a 7-8 to 1-3 hammering of Down. The 22 points was the highest number ever recorded in an Ulster SFC match by a Monaghan team.
Malachy O’Rourke will be focusing on avoiding a repeat of Monaghan’s first-half showing that would put them in trouble against better opposition. Down kicked eight wides in that opening 35 minutes, while Monaghan took advantage of some soft frees in the latter stages of the half to move into a three-point lead.
The second half was a different story, as Monaghan moved up through the gears, while Down’s challenge completely faltered. Down constantly coughed up possession throughout the second half and Monaghan’s swift counter-attacking made the visitors pay a heavy price.
Monaghan dispossessed Down 14 times in open play in the second half and they turned those into a goal and seven points. Five of those turnovers were won by Darren Hughes, who was named RTÉ’s Man …

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