VITAL WIN!

21 June 2024 No Comments by The Northern Standard

COLM SHALVEY TALKING POINTS

As Monaghan manager Vinnie Corey said after Sunday’s game: “we’re not in a position to turn our noses up at any win”. After all of 140 days since Monaghan made a stunning start to the league by turning Dublin over at Croke Park, they finally got back to winning ways despite a fairly patchy performance against a Meath side who exited the championship with four consecutive losses.

A draw with Louth had stopped the rot for Monaghan, who started full of purpose on Sunday, racing into a three-point lead. Old failings resurfaced as the first half went on, however, as Monaghan left themselves open to counter-attacks by Meath, who punished one with a goal from Cathal Hickey and left their opponents sprinting back desperately on a couple of other occasions. With Monaghan struggling to eke out chances at the other end – it took 33 minutes until Mícheál Bannigan became their first forward to get a shot off from open play – things looked bleak, but they managed to regroup before half-time to take a one-point lead.

With the likes of Bannigan, Killian Lavelle and Gary Mohan (who got the Monaghan supporters on their feet with a skyscraping catch on 55 minutes) taking the game by the scruff of the neck, they took complete control after the restart and by the time Barry McBennett hit the net to open up a nine-point gap, it looked like game over for a demoralised Meath. Nothing has been straightforward this year, though, and instead of keeping the scoreboard ticking over to chase down the score-difference gap to Louth – who were being put to the sword by Kerry – Monaghan allowed Meath to kick seven on the spin until Conor McManus tapped over a settling free deep into added time. Before the game, Monaghan would have taken any kind of morale-boosting…

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