GAA Football

Ulster SFC: Monaghan v Fermanagh - key battle, tactical take, turning point...

The forward bursts of Championship debutant Killian Lavelle were a feature of Monaghan's victory over Fermanagh on Saturday. Picture by Philip Walsh
Neil Loughran

Key battle

Conor Boyle (Monaghan) v Sean Quigley (Fermanagh)

QUIGLEY operated as Fermanagh’s lone forward outlet for most of the afternoon and, after outmuscling Boyle for an early score, rarely troubled the Clontibret man again – though he and Eoin Donnelly were switching in and out.

Instead, Boyle repeatedly got on his bike and bounded up the field, confident the Ernemen hadn’t the numbers behind him to punish Monaghan. Proved a vital attacking outlet for the Farney as they pushed into an unassailable lead.

Tactical take

WITH the middle area so crowded, and Fermanagh deploying two sweepers, it was Monaghan’s breakers from deep who helped swing this game in their favour.

Kieran Duffy’s forward run led to the game’s only goal while Conor Boyle, Ryan Wylie, Dessie Ward, Karl O’Connell and Ryan McAnespie all broke the lines to overwhelm Fermanagh.

The Erne full-back line performed admirably but further out the field they simply didn’t tackle well enough, or weren’t strong enough, to contain those threats, while key men such as Ciaran Corrigan and Ultan Kelm were well shackled throughout.

Turning point

WHEN Jack McCarron rose highest to palm home after Sean McNally brilliantly saved Kieran Duffy’s goalbound shot, it put Monaghan five up heading towards the water break. Given how hard Fermanagh were having to work for scores in comparison to their opponents, bridging that gap looked a stretch even at that stage.

Top score

CHAMPIONSHIP debutant Aaron Mulligan, three minutes after the break. Rory Beggan’s kick-out found Karl O’Connell, then it went through Killian Lavelle and Kieran Duffy, whose ball in was perfectly collected and offloaded by Conor McManus to Ryan McAnespie. The Emyvale man found Mulligan in space and he slotted between the posts. Movement, accuracy and pinpoint passing. So simple.

Ref watch

Barry Cassidy (Derry)

DEFINITELY a bit sore on Fermanagh in the first half when a few shouts for frees were waved away, while the Ernemen also felt they could have been awarded a couple of penalties. 

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

GAA Football