Gilroy hails work ethic after Brogan sinks Farney
NFL Division 1
REFLECTING on his first defeat to Dublin as Monaghan manager, Seamus McEnaney summed the new-look Metropolitans up best.
"Dublin worked very hard," he said. "They have a new group of players there who are prepared to go to the end of the line. Monaghan went a point up at one stage and there was a time down the years where Dublin would have gone away at that stage but they came back harder and faster."
That they didn't go away is a sign of the times. The creaking, nervous Dublin of old were nowhere to be seen and instead the likes of Cian O'Sullivan and Rory O'Carroll formed a teak-tough spine to the defence at Parnell Park, even if their job was made infinitely easier by the amount of traffic in their half.
Dublin's system was plain for all to see. Getting men behind the ball on every occasion was the philosophy and Monaghan, no strangers to packing a defence themselves when required, found it difficult to make possession count.
Lady Luck smiled on Dublin when, in the first half, the otherwise excellent Maurice Deegan kept his cards in his pocket after Paul Flynn brought down Dick Clerkin rugby-style when already on a yellow card.
Salt was rubbed into that wound when, early in the second half, Dessie Mone got his marching orders for a second bookable offence and even though Monaghan went a point up in the immediate aftermath of his dismissal, they still looked as though they were treading water.
Tommy Freeman's sublime finish and a Rory Woods point edged the Ulstermen in front but on balance Dublin deserved their fourth win of the league campaign.
That goalkeeper Shane Duffy was one of Monaghan's best performers tells its own story and there was little he could have done about Kevin McMenamon's match-winning goal or Bernard Brogan's first-half 'major' which had Monaghan chasing a deficit from the 10th minute.
"The guys outside were doing a hell of a lot of work to create opportunities and the ball going in was a lot better than last week," said Dublin manager Pat Gilroy.
Brogan made Monaghan pay for allowing him such space by finishing with 1-6 to his name. Dermot McArdle was detailed to pick up the Oliver Plunketts man but a hamstring injury he carried into the game flared up inside the first minute, forcing Monaghan into a defensive reshuffle.
That Brogan goal was the difference as Dublin carried a 1-6 to 0-6 lead in at the interval and although Monaghan took the lead briefly after the restart, Gilroy's side always looked more likely winners.
"In every game so far we have got good work-rate but we made a lot of mistakes," said the Dublin manager. "We had two or three goal chances where we just over-passed the ball. But it is March and fellas are going to make those mistakes. You can't fault the effort."
The major downside for Dublin was what looked like a serious knee injury to captain Paul Griffin but otherwise Gilroy was pleased with how the players had bought into their style of play.
"We are trying to get guys to work hard all the time. There are new guys coming in and they all seem to be willing to work hard for each other. That's the important thing and no one was shirking their duties."
Despite the pre-match urgings of racehorse-owner Oliver Brady, who stripped from his shirt and tie to don the county jersey, Monaghan couldn't build on last week's win over Tyrone as they continue their battle for survival.
"We're disappointed," McEnaney said. "There was a time in the second half when we went a point up and it looked like Monaghan could go on and win it. We had a few opportunities to go two up but we didn't take them. After half-time we came back and fought well and the turning point was us dropping to 14 men.
"I think we're capable of staying in Division 1. If it goes down to the wire in the last game against Kerry in Killarney that's okay with me, as long as we stay there. This team has great character -- we showed it last weekend and we'll fight from here on in."
SCORERS -- Dublin: B Brogan 1-6 (0-3f), K McMenamon 1-0, E Fennell, R McConnell, A Hubbard, B McMenamon, D Magee 0-1 each. Monaghan: T Freeman 1-0, C McManus 0-3 (0-3f), H McElroy, R Woods 0-2 each, D Hughes, P Finlay (0-1f) 0-1 each.
Dublin -- S Cluxton; M Fitzsimons, Rory O'Carroll, P McMahon; J McCarthy, C O'Sullivan, G Brennan; E Fennell, R McConnell; A Hubbard, M McAuley, P Flynn; D Henry, B Brogan, K McManamon. Subs: P Griffin for McCarthy (h/t), B McMenamon for Henry (47), D Magee for Fennell (48), H Gill for Griffin (49), K Bonner for Flynn (65).
Monaghan --S Duffy; C Greenan, D McArdle, C Walshe; N McAdam, D Mone, C McManus; D Hughes, D Clerkin; S Gollogly, P Finlay, K Hughes; H McElroy, V Corey, T Freeman. Subs: M McNally for McArdle (2), R Woods for Corey (29), F Caulfield for McElroy (59), M McElroy for K Hughes (68), D Malone for McAdam (68).
REF -- M Deegan (Laois).