Minors run out of steam

Minors run out of steam

24 April 2019

AN electrifying finish from holders Monaghan just about finished off a gallant Down challenge at a positively balmy St Tiernach’s Park, Clones, on Saturday evening.

The Farney county trailed Down by three points going into the last 10 minutes, but a sparkling spell of relentless pressure yielded 1-3 without reply as Monaghan booked a quarter-final spot against Antrim this weekend.

The defending Ulster champions started in a hurry and were intent on causing maximum damage with a blistering opening, points coming from captain Jason Irwin, Karl Gallagher and Shane Hanratty to take a 0-3 to 0-0 lead by the 10th minute.

Down finally settled with Ronan Campbell, Ryan Magill and Josh Gray getting to grips with a speedy Monaghan half forward line.

Peter McEvoy and Odhran Murdock started winning their fair share of possession and were able to supply an eager set of forwards with a good supply of ball.

Unanswered points from Oisin Savage, Cian McLoughlin and Padraig Clancy had the sides level by the 20th minute.

Irwin and Sean Og McCusker swapped points before Ryan Magill sent Down in at the break with a hard-earned 0-5 to 0-4 lead. 

John McGovern extended Down’s lead to two points at the start of the second half but consecutive points from Gallagher, Irwin and Dara Dempsey completely turned the tables and eased Monaghan into a 0-7 to 0-6 lead by the 39th minute.

Savage and Kierans exchanged points as Monaghan held on grimly to their one-point lead. However, the hosts were crestfallen when Adam Crimmins exploded on to the scene and scored a cracking goal to put Down into a 1-7 to 0-8 lead after 41 minutes.

Further points from the impressive McGovern and Crimmins had Down in dreamland as they took a deserved 1-9 to 0-8 lead after 45 minutes. 

A Dempsey free and a point from Liam McDonald reduced the arrears, but a third free from Loughinisland’s Savage gave the visitors a 1-10 to 0-10 lead with only 10 minutes remaining.

It was at this stage that Monaghan found a second wind and left Down in tatters with a sensational finish.

A Kierans goal brought the sides level in the 25th minute and as Down huffed and puffed, Monaghan went for the kill.

Points from Irwin, Diarmuid Marron and McDonald were good enough to finish off brave Down side who ran out of steam at the death.

Monaghan: Joe Kirk, Shane Slevin, Ronan Boyle, Shane Hanratty (0-1), Darragh Treanor, Eoin Duffy, Kyle Connolly, Conor McKernan, David Keeley, Diarmuid Mallon (0-1), Karl Gallagher (0-2), Tiarnan Kierans (1-1), Dara Dempsey (0-3, 2f), Jason Irwin (0-3, 2f), Liam McDonald (0-2, 1f). Subs:  McCann for C McKernan.

Down: Aodhan Furlong, Patrick McCarthy, Sean Donnegan, Ronan Campbell, Ryan Magill (0-1), Josh Gray, Damien McMullan, Peter McEvoy, Odhran Murdock, Sean Og McCusker (0-1), John McGovern (0-2, 1f), Padraig Clancy (0-1), Oisin Savage (0-3f), Adam Crimmins (1-1), Cian McLoughlin (0-1). Subs: Tony Magee for McMullan, O Cunningham for P McEvoy.