Sunday 25 February 2018

Monaghan v Donegal - The Game at a glance

Man of the match

Dessie Mone

(Monaghan)

Dessie Mone typified Monaghan's redoubtable spirit with so many interceptions, so many important tackles and driving runs forward from defence, one of which yielded a point.

TALKING POINT

Monaghan's perfect execution of their defensive plan, built on defending with every member of the team and breaking quickly to score on the counter. Can Donegal recover and remain a force in the championship? Big clouds of doubt hang over that now.

TURNING POINT

For Donegal Mark McHugh's ninth-minute departure with concussion after a collision with Stephen Gollogly, who was also forced off, robbed them of their main defensive screen. They were lost without him. But Monaghan were already 0-4 to

0-0 clear by that stage and the terms of engagement had been set.

MAGIC MOMENT

Was there a more fitting epitaph than long-serving Tommy Freeman swinging over the final point, having just come on to the field. Clones erupted in the knowledge that the day was done.

REF WATCH

Donegal felt Michael Murphy had penalty claims just before half-time. Colm McFadden should have had at least two more second-half frees but David Coldrick would have needed eyes in the back of his head to spot some of the off-the-ball fouling that took place.

WHAT THEY SAID

Malachy O'Rourke (Monaghan manager):

"People were judging us on the performances against Antrim and Cavan, but we weren't judging ourselves on those performances. We knew there was more to come."

Jim McGuinness (Donegal manager):

"I suppose there were a few things that went against us, like losing Mark McHugh, but, overall, Monaghan were the better team, they were the hungrier team and were more clinical up front when they got the chances."

MATCH STATISTICS

Wides:

Monaghan 7 (4 first half)

Donegal 10 (5 first half)

Frees:

Monaghan 20 (13)

Donegal 20 (7)

Yellow Cards:

Monaghan 3 (Conor McManus 38, Dermot Malone 41, Dick Clerkin 58)

Donegal 0

WHAT'S NEXT?

Donegal meet Laois in a fourth-round qualifier next weekend, while Monaghan are into an All-Ireland quarter-final in two weeks' time.

Irish Independent

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