GAA Football

Monaghan player ratings...

Ethan Doherty being pursued by Niall Kearns Picture Seamus Loughran.

Rory Beggan: Played the extra man brilliantly in the second half and helped press Derry's kick-outs by pushing up to the flanks. 7.5

Kieran Duffy: A major surprise he started on Niall Loughlin and not Shane McGuigan. Loughlin was lively and pinched a point off him before the Latton defender moved on to McGuigan in the second period. But the initial match-up was wrong. 6

Conor Boyle: The Clontibret man was caught out by the high ball that led to Derry’s opening goal. Sadly, another abiding image of the day was Boyle running the full length of the field unable to stop Emmett Bradley. 5

Ryan Wylie: Won a couple of breaks off Benny Heron early doors but could do nothing to stop the Derry man from netting Derry’s second. Forced the issue in the second half and was constantly on the front foot. 7

Ryan McAnespie: Hit a couple of first half wides but he couldn’t have given more. Hugely influential around the middle sector and pushed up on Gareth McKinless to good effect. Always in the game. 7.5

Dessie Ward: A strange nomination to man-mark McGuigan. Monaghan remedied their match-ups in the second half. Broke forward and pointed and always showed for the ball. Team tactics didn't get the best out of him. 6.5

Conor McCarthy: Grabbed an important score before half-time and looked like he was going to at least break even with Paul Cassidy, but the Derry man hit two second half points to edge their battle. 6

Darren Hughes: Getting on in years but has the football brain to keep himself in the game. Grabbed a late first-half point, sent a couple of smart balls into the inside line and always took up canny attacking positions. 6.5

Niall Kearns: One of those midfield battles where Conor Glass and him had good aerial periods but Kearns used the possessions he got very wisely and was one of Monaghan’s better performers. 7.5

Shane Carey: A late change for Andrew Woods but a tactical decision that was reversed before the break with the Scotstown man completely crowded out. 4.5

Kieran Hughes: Conor McCluskey really tested his legs. The Scotstown man did off-load to McManus for a score and won a crucial turnover when Monaghan turned the screw on Derry’s kick-outs in the second half. Withdrawn after flirting with a second yellow. 6

Michael Bannigan: Couldn’t get close to Ethan Doherty and struggled to make an impact before making way before half-time for Karl O’Connell. 4.5

Jack McCarron: Won a couple of frees and a ‘mark’ that were converted but was held scoreless throughout. A big win for Chrissy McKaigue. 6.5

Gary Mohan: Brendan Rogers didn’t allow him to get his hands on much ball and what possessions he did have he probably wasn’t productive enough with them. 5

Conor McManus: Apart from one loop that led to a fine first-half score, Padraig McGrogan can be happy with his day’s work conceding just two points from play. Didn’t have a lot of room to work in, but still looked dangerous. 7

Subs:

Andrew Woods: Made a huge difference when introduced just before half-time, constantly asking questions of the Derry defence. 7.5

Karl O’Connell: The line-breaker that Monaghan were crying out for in the first half. Kept punching holes in the Derry defence in the second half. 7.5

David Garland: Entered for Kieran Hughes but the game was already gone from Monaghan’s grasp. 5

Sean Jones: Came on for Gary Mohan but didn’t see much possession. 5

Conor Leonard: Not on long enough to be rated.

Top score…

APOLOGIES to Benny Heron here, but Emmett Bradley’s 46th minute point eclipsed every other score yesterday. The big midfielder accepted Odhran Lynch’s pass and ran 100 metres all the while keeping Conor Boyle at bay. A lovely left-footed finish which was so crucial because Monaghan were beginning to turn the screw on Lynch’s kick-outs. One for the highlights reel.

Key battle…

Chrissy McKaigue (Derry) v Jack McCarron (Monaghan)

IT takes incredible concentration and resilience to do what McKaigue does. Completely gives himself over to the collective and was unflappable for the entire game against Monaghan’s Jack McCarron. Yes, he was over-zealous and conceded a couple of frees but that’s bound to happen. Space in front of McCarron was always going to be limited which helped McKaigue’s job, but it was another big win for the Slaughtneil man on the Championship stage.

Ref watch…

David Gough (Meath)

THERE were howls from the Derry supporters to send off Kieran Hughes after a barge on the stand side, but Gough’s sharp reading of the game and his mental strength in the big moments were hugely impressive. Monaghan may have quibbled with a few first-half 50-50s that went against them, but overall Gough proved his credentials. Best ref on the circuit.

Turning point…

THE game took a decisive turn as early as the 12th minute when Gareth McKinless ghosted through the holes in the Monaghan defence to rifle into the net. The signs were there for Derry before McKinless netted. It left the scores 1-2 to no score and it didn’t flatter Derry one iota. McKinless’s major was the undoubtedly the Oak Leaf platform for victory.

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