24 February 2024 No Comments by The Northern Standard


In a game where both sides managed impressive shot conversion rates of over 80%, it was Derry’s ability to eke out the bulk of the scoring chances (25 to 16) that made the difference. Like in other recent meetings of these teams, with the exception of their championship groupstage clash at Celtic Park last year, Derry made hay from counter-attacks, picking Monaghan off on the break for a series of scores, including their second-half goals from Pádraig McGrogan and Conor Doherty.

They joined fellow defender Conor McCluskey in hitting the net, with all three producing finishes that any forward would be proud of. Derry may well be close to full tilt already (Mickey Harte has never made any secret of his ambition to win each competition his teams enter), but with All-Star centreback Gareth McKinless, goalkeeper Odhrán Lynch and newcomer Cormac Murphy to return, they look to have a bit more depth this year as they set their sights on making a real mark on the All- Ireland series.

A SECOND consecutive loss hurt Monaghan’s score difference and Vinnie Corey admitted afterwards that the way it got away from them in the second half could have been a “wee bit deflating”, but as ever, the manager has an eye on the bigger picture. His understrength team have taken on the other three All- Ireland semi-finalists from 2023 in the opening rounds of the league, two of them away from home, with Corey reiterating: “We’ll not get too low with defeats”. Killian Lavelle’s absence and the losses of Ryan McAnespie and Stephen O’Hanlon meant Monaghan were down to just three of their starting team from…

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