1 July 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

John Graham

There was divided opinion in the immediate aftermath of last Saturday’s semi-final meeting between Monaghan and Donegal as to which of them got the rub of the green in a game that at one stage Monaghan looked as if they were on their way to victory but didn’t push on, while later Donegal were in the ascendancy, ahead courtesy of a gift point deep into stoppage time, but indiscipline saw them giving away a late free that was punished by Conor McManus to send the issue to a replay which takes place this Saturday, back in Kingspan Breffni Park.

Opinion was not divide though on the quality of the match, the degree of intensity that both sides brought to the occasion and the fact that it was the first game this year that lived up to the claim that Ulster is the most competitive of the four provincial Championships as Monaghan and Donegal served up an absolute thriller.

Yes there was a decided edge to some of the exchanges but that was to be expected when two teams who have clashed so often over the last few years come together with so much at stake. Yes, there was a fair degree of gamesmanship by Donegal at times that duped the officials and both sides lived dangerously on occasion. Donegal enjoyed a modicum of good fortune that they did not have a second player black carded when Fintan Kelly was hauled down immediately before Donegal scored their goal but at the same time Monaghan also rode their own luck to a certain extent and but for the accuracy, the skill and the nerves of steel of Conor McManus they could well have gone out of the series. They didn’t though, as the sides finished all square so its back to Kingspan Breffni Park this Saturday evening for round 2 of what is sure to be another intense if not totally attritional contest.
It is generally accepted that replays rarely follow the trend of drawn encounters and so based on that premis, what are the factors that are most likely to influence the outcome this time around? What lessons did …

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