GAA Football

Ulster SFC semi-final - how Monaghan rated

Monaghan saw off Armagh to book an Ulster final date with Tyrone. Picture by Philip Walsh
Ratings by Neil Loughran

Rory Beggan: Had a field day with the weather conditions, kick-outs hugely influential when Monaghan were on top. Unerring from two frees. Misjudged the bounce of one Murnin pass and the ball almost ended up in the net, then beaten to the punch by Turbitt for the goal that breathed life into the Orchard challenge. 7

Kieran Duffy: His direct opponent Andrew Murnin may only have finished up with one point, but four came off him in the first half and another couple after. Found Turbett a handful too. 6

Conor Boyle: Started on Campbell but really struggled after moving onto Rian O’Neill as the Cross man ruled on land and sky. 5.5

Ryan Wylie: Scampered back to stop the ball crossing the line after Murnin’s first half pass bounced over Beggan’s head. Gave Grugan too much room at times in the first half as he roamed across the line. Closed the space in the second. 6

Karl O’Connell: He and Hall pretty much cancelled each other out. Largely ineffective. 6

Dessie Ward: Had a brilliant first half, taking the fight to Rian O’Neill early on and popping up with two brilliant scores. Quieter as Armagh dominated after the break. 7

Darren Hughes: Drifted back and forth from the middle third, seized the opportunity to burst up the field and bag Monaghan’s fourth goal, exchanging passes with McCarron as the orange sea parted. Made a great block to deny McQuillan late on. 8

Killian Lavelle: Worked hard in the heat until injury forced him off. 6

Niall Kearns: A hardy buck. Rocked to his socks by some heavy duty hits in the second half but ploughed on regardless. Landed a Hail Mary in the first half. 7

Ryan McAnespie: Played a key role as the Farney came flying from the blocks, pulling Mackin and then Grimley out to the wings to clear space through the middle, where the Farney ran riot. Never stopped running. 7.5

Miceal Bannigan: Ran at McCabe when he could, burst into the square to score Monaghan’s third goal after patient play from McCarron. Also laid on McCarron’s goal after a wayward Magill kick. 7

Aaron Mulligan: Showed his class with some lovely passes, especially one into McCarron. Played on the same Ulster title-winning minor side as Brendan Og Duffy, so a tough day. 6.5

Conor McCarthy: Scored a point and didn’t seem to do a whole lot wrong but was withdrawn before half-time. 6

Jack McCarron: Superb in the first half. Contribution feels far greater than the 1-1 scored, calmly rounded Magill for his goal, laid Bannigan’s on a plate and exchanged passes with Hughes for his. Got little change from Forker in the second half. 8

Conor McManus: Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Shrugged aside any injury concerns to land 1-1 inside three minutes, won and converted three late frees when Monaghan most needed him at the death. An incredible big game performer. 8.5

Substitutes

Stephen O’Hanlon: His score heading into the last quarter helped stem the tide of Armagh dominance before he nailed the last point of an energy-sapping afternoon. 8

Shane Carey: Scored a classy point off the outside of the boot and made some important catches. 7

Colin Walshe: Roamed around the forward line but the ball didn’t go near him. 6

Kieran Hughes: Always calm in possession and looking for opportunities. 6

Andrew Woods: Made little impact late on. 6

Fintan Kelly: Not on long enough to be rated.

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