GAA Football

How Monaghan rated...

Monaghan's Jack McCarron was on fire against Down

Rory Beggan: Might have made himself bigger for Down’s two goals, but only a minor quibble. Converted two placed balls and was typically composed in possession. 6.5

Kieran Duffy: Picked up an unnecessary yellow that may have prompted his substitution. Hit a lovely point and minded Barry O’Hagan and Ruairi O’Hare well. 7

Conor Boyle: Pat Havern give him the slip for a score but the front-footed Clontibret defender picked off a smashing point himself. Good day at the office. 7.5

Ryan Wylie: Kept Andrew Gilmore scoreless from play, hit a nice point before half-time. A comfortable afternoon for the Monaghan captain. 7

Ryan McAnespie: Couldn’t shake off Ruairi McCormack and might have got a better hand in to deny Caolan Mooney a goal. 6

Dessie Ward: Caolan Mooney made a couple of trademark bursts but the Ballybay defender did a fine marking job on Down’s best line breaker and won this duel. 7.5

Conor McCarthy: Plying his trade in the half-back line, he was generally untroubled by Conor Francis. Found himself in more familiar territory to find his range in the second half. 6

Darren Hughes: The ageless Scotstown man rarely dips below a seven-out-of-10 any time he plays. Same again for the veteran who played a canny game along the ‘40’ throughout. 7

Niall Kearns: Played the defensive pivot role and initiated quite a lot of Monaghan’s attacks and his influence grew in the second half with some searching kick passes. 6.5

Andrew Woods: A workmanlike display from the wing-forward who grabbed a nice left-footed score in the first half. 6.5

Kieran Hughes: Aerially very good and was able to get his five iron out in the second half to hit some brilliant kick passes. Looks fitter than he has done for a couple of seasons. 7.5

Michael Bannigan: Had Conor Poland for company and found him hard to shake off. A fine footballer who will have better days in the Monaghan jersey. 6

STAR MAN Jack McCarron: His lovely languid style, sharp turns and unerring kicking were the best things to come out of Clones on Saturday. Picked off some smashing points against the tenacious Peter Fegan and was generally uncontainable. If his Q&A in the match programme is anything to go by he probably celebrated with some buttered chicken from the Eastern Balti. 8

Gary Mohan: The opposition and sometimes his own team-mates don’t know what he’s going to do next. He mishandled a Beggan kick-out that led to Down’s opening goal, but he had more than enough good moments to compensate. 7

Conor McManus: Benny McArdle stuck to his task well as Monaghan often changed the direction of their attack. Some vintage moments though - a lovely dummy bounce for a score was a big hit. 6.5


Shane Carey: Always impresses from the Farney bench. Nabbed a point and won some dirty ball. 7

Drew Wylie: Slotted into defence in the closing stages for the yellow-carded Duffy. 6

Karl O’Connell: Took a heavy hit from Tiarnan Rushe and had to leave the field. 5

Conor Leonard: Not on long enough to be rated.

Sean Jones: Not on long enough to be rated.

David Garland: Not on long enough to be rated.


Ref watch…

Fergal Kelly (Longford)

He was a bit whistle-happy in the early stages with some of his decisions annoying both sets of supporters at times. Rightly punished Tiarnan Rushe’s loose tackling that floored Karl O’Connell in the closing stages. Otherwise a handy enough game to manage.

Top score…

PAT Havern’s goal at the start of the second half not only enlivened the Down contingent in the 5,418 crowd but it was extremely well worked. A couple of swift hand passes involving Ruairi O’Hare and Niall McParland before the ball was off-loaded to Havern who finished well.

Key battle…

Dessie Ward (Monaghan) v Caolan Mooney (Down)

IF Down were going to pull off a major upset they needed Mooney to hit the high notes for more sustained periods. He got a run on Ward a couple of times and grabbed Down’s first goal, but the Ballybay man smothered his threat in the second half which was one of Monaghan's platforms for victory.

Turning point…

THERE was no turning point in this one-sided spectacle. At a push, though, it came as early as the eighth minute when Jack McCarron left Darren O’Hagan and Peter Fegan for dust to fist over. Once McCarron got off the mark and found his rhythm it was always an uphill task for the visitors.

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GAA Football