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Monaghan fail to find cutting edge

After a decade waiting to return to the Premier Division, Monaghan United supporters may be wondering if the big league is all it's cracked up to be.

After all, last night's game was not one for the purists.

Instead, pragmatism was at the centre of both sides' philosophies, with chances limited in a scrappy game.

Of the few that were created, Dundalk had the better of them, going close on 33 minutes when Robert Waters' long-range strike was touched over the crossbar by Chris Bennion. Shortly afterwards, another shot from distance -- Stephen McDonnell trying his luck this time -- saw the crossbar save Monaghan.

Dundalk too had the woodwork to thank when Robert Bayly carved out space for himself before curling a shot onto the post.

As the game wore on, Monaghan's superior fitness helped them dominate the closing minutes, but it wasn't enough to win it.

Monaghan United -- Bennion: Maher, Collins (Humphrey 79), Reynor (Murphy 60), McMahon; Byrne McDonagh, Bayly; O'Connor (Marks 20), Griffiths, Keegan.

Dundalk -- Cherrie; Foran, Burns, Danville, Cunningham; O'Neill (Coughlan 68), McDonnell (Walsh 90), Mountney, Waters, Shanahan; Rafter.

Ref -- R Rogers (Dublin).

Irish Independent