RACE TO THE BOTTOM

15 July 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Longford 2-13
Monaghan 1-13
BY JOHN GRAHAM

For the first time in 4 years Monaghan’s championship season has ended in the month of July when they failed to get over the challenge of Longford in their Round 2B qualifier game in Clones on Saturday evening last.

The six-day turnaround and two gruelling matches against Donegal certainly took their toll on Monaghan but were not totally responsible for this defeat as Monaghan failed to capitalise in the second-half of this game after recovering from a blistering start by Longford and playing catch up for most of the first half.

Monaghan enjoyed their best spell in the game in the closing stages of the first half when they came from being 5 points in arrears after 23 minutes to leading by 3 points at the break with an unanswered 1-5 and Longford completely outplayed. In the second half though Monaghan failed to build on that situation and it was a hungrier Longford who again wrested the initiative back with Monaghan’s cause not helped through a series of missed chances from play and frees.

Longford regained the lead entering the final quarter and ultimately clinched victory with a goal by Robbie Smyth with 8 minutes of normal time remaining. Try as they might Monaghan could not engineer the openings as Longford funnelled back in defence and frustrated Monaghan’s efforts with the result that their only return in the final 12 minutes of the game was a point from a free by Conor McManus 2 minutes into stoppage time.

Monaghan made six changes from the team that lost to Donegal in the Ulster semi final replay with Conor McCarthy coming in for …
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