Monaghan produced complete performance in win over Tyrone says manager Darren Greenan

The victory has booked the Farney ladies an Ulster intermediate final date with Down later this month

Monaghan manager Darren Greenan
Monaghan manager Darren Greenan will now prepare his side for an Ulster IFC final date with Down (David Fitzgerald / SPORTSFILE)

MONAGHAN threw the formbook out the window when they defeated title favourites Tyrone in the Ulster semi-final to book their place in the final against Down in two weeks’ time.

The Farney county just managed to avoid relegation from Division Two with a final-day win over Laois, coupled with Tyrone’s victory over Cavan, which saw them safe, while the Red Hands were preparing to contest a Division Two final and looking forward to playing Division One football next season.

However, the script was torn apart in Smithborough on Sunday , with Monaghan deservedly winning 2-10 to 0-12, a brace of first-half goals from Eabha Sherry laying the foundations for victory.

Monaghan manager Darren Greenan said they did not fear Tyrone coming into the game and knew if they could keep them goalless they had a huge chance of victory.

“We weren’t fazed. We scored 2-8 against them in the league and felt that we left the game behind,’’ says Greenan.

“We gave up three very bad goals that day and also got a sin-bin at a very bad time in the first half when we were on top and they scored two goals at that time.

“We came out of that game disappointed as we felt we could have beaten Tyrone and that’s why we didn’t fear them.

“They went on, obviously, to have a very good league and we were very conscious of their progression.

“When we saw the draw against Tyrone we knew it was never going to be easy. They had a brilliant league, we knew we were probably always going to be up against it but we felt that we were always progressing as the league went on.

“Unfortunately, in the league we conceded a lot goals and that was a big factor. It took us a while to get a grip on our defensive system and we have sort of honed it over the weeks and the weeks and that cost us in the games in the league.

“We were very focused on trying to tighten up our defensive system and we sort of said that if we could concede no goals we would win the game so that was a big focus for us.

“The defence really stood up, the workrate out of the defensive unit was phenomenal. Tyrone weren’t able to live with us in terms of the intensity we brought in the tackle, the number of turnovers we got.”

It was Monaghan’s most complete performance to date, Greenan feels, and it will give the players a huge boost in confidence and they are really looking forward to the final against Down on Sunday, May 19 in Clones.

“It probably was our most complete performance this year. The Laois game we felt we were really at it, we seemed to really click that day.

“It was our best team performance overall when you look at one to 15 and the five subs and we knew that we were going to have to bring our best performance against Tyrone and we were happy that we got that.

“That’s a massive confidence boost. We kept telling the girls that we believed in them, and we needed them to believe in themselves.

“Now the evidence is there. Getting to an Ulster final is a big thing; some of those girls have had their confidence knocked these last few years and they have struggled to perform on the big days, they haven’t had a whole pile of success, maybe felt things were a bit stagnated and Monaghan football was struggling.

“We are looking forward to an Ulster final, in Clones, which is a bit of advantage in terms of travel and girls have played there before.’’

Nonetheless, Greenan will have nothing but respect for their final opponents, who are progressing well and building on their All-Ireland junior success of last year.

“Down put up a big score against Antrim and took Cavan’s scalp as well. We will not be underestimating Down.

“We need to be playing at our max again. Down won the All-Ireland junior last year, had a good league, finished third in Division Three, unlucky not to get promotion.

“They have a bit of momentum behind them and they are building as well and I think it will be a good battle on the day, two teams that are making decent progress and it’s all to play for on the day. It’s a one-off final and you never know what happens.”