Brogan gives voracious Dubs the decisive edge
Dublin 2-11 Monaghan 1-9
I'M after bearing witness to a most unusual and unexpected event: a compelling and entertaining league match in the cramped confines of Parnell Park between -- wait for it -- Dublin and Monaghan. I kid you not. And there was only one sending off.
This didn't bode well for the purist on his journey there. Two counties with a fractious relationship, who like to get men behind the ball, on a tight pitch: the odds on free-flowing football were long enough. We didn't get a classic, let's not get carried away, but it was entertaining and open. The lively crowd got its money's worth.
The sending off eventually took its toll on Monaghan who lost Dessie Mone seven minutes into the second half. They trailed by four points at the interval, deservedly, but Dublin came out and didn't raise a flag for a quarter of an hour. When Mone was dismissed for a late tackle on Alan Hubbard, they were a goal behind. But a fine goal by Tommy Freeman sandwiched between two points from Rory Woods put them in front and had Dublin spinning.
That was a lead they hadn't sat on since the 11th minute, when Bernard Brogan altered the course of the game with Dublin's first goal. Last night Brogan, predictably, did most of the scoring. He had 1-6 of the total.
Monaghan's burst quickly petered out and the 14 men battled hard but they kicked seven second-half wides and Dublin began to find gaping holes. The decisive twist in the narrative was a goal by Kevin McManamon on 52 minutes. Darren Magee came on in the second half and started the move with a quick free, while Ross McConnell and Brogan were key accessories. Freeman responded with a free but Brogan kicked one from play, leaving a goal between them, and Dublin held on from there.
Dublin were the more voracious side in the opening half and good value for their four-point interval cushion.
The visitors weren't helped by the early withdrawal of Dermot McArdle and, later in the half Vincent Corey. Frank Caulfield was sacrificed in midfield and Hugh Clerkin formed a sturdy partnership with the equally muscular Darren Hughes. Monaghan's brightest attacker was Hugh McElroy, who pinched two first-half scores. But even he didn't last the cull after the interval and was hauled off.
Scorers -- Dublin: B Brogan 1-6 (3f); K McManamon 1-0; E Fennell, R McConnell, D Magee, A Hubbard, B McManamon 0-1 each. Monaghan: T Freeman 1-1 (1f); H McElroy, R Woods, C McManus 0-2 each; P Finlay (f), D Hughes 0-1 each.
Dublin: S Cluxton; M Fitzsimons, R O'Carroll, P McMahon; J McCarthy, C O'Sullivan, G Brennan; E Fennell, R McConnell; A Hubbard, MD MacAuley, P Flynn; D Henry, B Brogan, K McManamon. Subs: P Griffin for McCarthy (h-t); B McManamon for Henry (46); D Magee for Fennell (48); H Gill for Griffin (48); K Bonner for Flynn (64).
Monaghan: S Duffy; C Greenan, D McArdle, C Walshe; C McManus, D Mone, N McAdam; D Clerkin, D Hughes; K Hughes, P Finlay, S Gollogly; H McElroy, V Corey, T Freeman. Subs: M McNally for D McArdle (2); R Woods for Corey (29); F Caulfield for McElroy (58); M McElroy for Hughes (67); D Malone for McAdam (68).
Referee: M Deegan (Laois).