DONEGAL CELEBRATES

8 July 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Donegal 0-17
Monaghan 2-10
JOHN GRAHAM

There was no happy ending for Monaghan to this much talked about and hugely anticipated Ulster Senior Football Championship Semi Final replay against Donegal as the Tir Chonaill men ended Monaghan’s reign as Ulster champions with a commanding display that saw them deservedly advance to the final at the expense of the misfiring reigning champions, particularly in the first half, in Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday evening last.

On the day Donegal were deserving winners in that they played the more purposeful football over the 70 odd minutes, they defended well and attacked in waves, they dominated midfield and were full of inventive running and support play, while at the same time nullifying Monaghan’s tactics particularly on counter attacks. Monaghan did make a real battle of it in the closing stages but just couldn’t turn it around.

Donegal captain Michael Murphy, who has experienced many difficult days against Monaghan, threw off those shackles on Saturday evening last and had a major impact on the outcome of this contest, playing in a variety of roles and finishing his team’s top scorer with five points, four from frees and one from a ‘45.

Monaghan made one change before the start with Daniel McKenna replacing Conor McCarthy on the starting 15 while Donegal started the same 15 as for the drawn match. Donegal got down to business right from the off and had opened the scoring within 45 seconds of the start, going on to dominate the first half, holding Monaghan scoreless for 17 minutes and but for 2 goals, one an opportunist effort and the second from a penalty inside the final 5 minutes of the half Monaghan would have been in a more serious situation than they were at half-time when they trailed by just 2 points after being totally outplayed.

The comparative levels to penetration though can be gauged from the fact that in the first half Donegal had 7 players on the score sheet while Monaghan had just 2 and Monaghan’s main scoring threat, Conor McManus was denied on numerous occasions as he was marked by at times 4 or 5 Donegal men but it also must be said that the ball in to him was not of the quality needed and he got little by way of assistance from referee Maurice Deegan who seemed to …
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