Monaghan manager Niall Treanor said he had no doubt that his side would secure their place in the Senior ranks for 2020 after they easily bettered Westmeath in the TG4 All-Ireland SFC Relegation Play-off Final in Dunleer.
Goals from Louise Kerley, Jennifer Duffy and Casey Treanor either side of half-time saw Niall Treanor’s side take control of this game and storm to victory, which has condemned Westmeath back into the Intermediate grade next season.
“It was a massive performance, it’s great to stay up in Senior football but I always knew that the girls had that performance in them. We were just trying to get it out of them,” said Treanor.
“There was something about today. You could tell in the dressing room before the game started, I knew the girls were going to go out and give that brilliant performance.
“I’m more pleased for them than I am for myself and the backroom team.”
Operating at full-forward Kerley was superb for Monaghan and she hit 1-11 for her side, while Cora Courtney put in a massive performance for her side on her return from injury.
With a howling wind at their back, Monaghan recovered from the concession of three early points to hit a dominant spell with seven unanswered points, which put them in control.
Such was the strength of the wind Westmeath struggled to get the ball out of their half at times, but after Slevin pulled one back, the loss of Sarah Dolan on a yellow card meant they would end the half with 14 players.
With that numerical advantage, Monaghan kicked on and scored 1-5 without reply before half-time including Kerley’s palmed goal, which gave them a 1-13 to 0-4 lead at the interval.
Monaghan were quick out of the blocks in the second period too, with a goal from midfielder Jennifer Duffy in the second minute of the half putting them 15 points clear, before Treanor hit the net too.
There were some moments of frustration for Monaghan who had Duffy and Cora Courtney sin-binned before McCarey’s red in the closing stages, but Westmeath also finished with 13 players following red cards for Johanna Maher and Sarah Dolan.
With space appearing all over the field Westmeath continued to fight for their senior status and a goal from Anna Jones trimmed their deficit, but it was too late to haul in Monaghan who will play senior football again in 2020.
“Of course when you are not scoring it feeds into pressure at the back then trying to be defensive. We tried today not to be defensive, we tried to go after the game and it didn’t happen for us today.
“If we had went in at half-time within touching distance it is a different game,” said Westmeath manager Sean Finnegan.
Scorers – Monaghan: L Kerley 1-11 (9f), C Treanor 1-1, J Duffy 1-0, C Courtney 0-2, R Courtney, C McAnespie 0-1, C McBride 0-1, A McCarey 0-1.
Westmeath: L Slevin 0-7 (6f), A Jones 1-1, L McCartan 0-1 G Halligan 0-1.
Monaghan: N McGuirk; H McSkane, S Boyd, A McAnespie; C Courtney, E Woods, N Kerr; A McCarey, J Duffy; R Courtney, E McAnespie, C McBride; C McAnespie, L Kerley, C Treanor. Subs: M Monaghan for McBride (39), B Tierney for Kerr (44), H Sherlock for Treanor (59), R Hughes for Woods (60).
Westmeath: L McCormack; L Power, J Rogers, R Dillon; V Carr, K McDermott, N Feery; F Claffey, MA Foley; J Maher, S Dolan, A Jones; K Hegarty, L Slevin, A Dolan. Subs: L Brennan for A Dolan (h-t), G Halligan for Hegarty (41), L McCartan for Carr (41), E Kelly for Power (51), Hegarty for Claffey (60).
Referee – B Redmond (Wexford).