Farney men find second wind to blow Galway away
new-look Monaghan made light of their inexperience as they produced a magnificent second-half performance to beat Galway in Clones yesterday.
Monaghan had seven players making their league debuts and that inexperience showed in the first half, but as the game wore on the hosts grew in confidence and went on to outplay the Tribesmen for long periods in the second half.
The Farney men laid the foundations for victory when they hit eight points without reply between the third and 25th minutes of the second half and went on to outscore the Galway men by 10 points to four in the second period.
In the early stages it was Galway who looked the more impressive and they had Monaghan chasing the game as they rattled off early scores, mostly through Sean Armstrong and Matthew Clancy.
Gareth Bradshaw gave them a foothold in midfield and such was their fluency in the opening 20 minutes that they looked as if they could romp to victory.
Wing-back Gary O'Donnell and midfielder Eddie Hoare registered early points, with Paul Finlay opening Monaghan's account in the fifth minute with a free -- he went on to finish top scorer with six points, five from frees.
The second quarter was a much more even affair, with the sides exchanging points regularly, but Galway always had the capacity to respond any time Monaghan threatened.
By the 27th minute, they had reopened a four-point lead, but Monaghan rattled over three unanswered points to leave the minimum in it at half-time, Galway ahead by 0-10 to 0-9.
Within a minute of the resumption, Armstrong pointed a free to restore Galway's two-point lead, but they were not to score again until the 28th minute of the half as Monaghan took increasing control to register eight points to go six in front and turn the game on its head.
Galway were now chasing the game but the best they could manage was to exchange points on a few occasions in closing stages.
At one stage, it looked as if they had breached the Monaghan defence for a goal but debutant 'keeper Mark Keogh closed down the space well and the effort was deflected over the bar as Monaghan held out for victory.
Scorers -- Monaghan: P Finlay 0-6 (5f), C McManus 0-5 (2f), D Clerkin, M Downey and C McGuinness 0-2 each, N McAdam and C Galligan 0-1 each. Galway: S Armstrong 0-4 (2f), E Hoare, C Bane and M Clancy (1f) 0-2 each, G O'Donnell, G Higgins, G Sice and D Cummins 0-1 each.
Monaghan -- M Keogh; C Walshe, D Mone, K Duffy; D Wylie, C Brady, D Hughes; N McAdam, D Clerkin; G Doogan, M Downey, J Turley; C McGuinness, P Finlay, C McManus. Subs: C Galligan for D Wylie, C Hughes for C Brady, D Malone for J Turley, B McKenna for M Downey.
Galway -- A Faherty; K Fitzgerald, F Hanley, K McGrath; G O'Donnell, N Coyne, A Burke; G Bradshaw, A Hoare; G Higgins, C Bane, G Sice; M Clancy, C de Paor, S Armstrong. Subs: D Reilly for K Fitzgerald, N Coleman for C de Paor, D Cummins for M Clancy, B Flaherty for N Coyne.
Ref -- M Deegan (Laois).