Galway profit as Monaghan duo see red

GALWAY may have gone on a scoring spree at Pearse Stadium yesterday but Joe Kernan was not getting carried away after he saw his side put Monaghan to the sword.

This may have been an open and enjoyable game, but it lacked high intensity despite 13 yellow cards being dished out, two of which led to Monaghan players being dismissed.

The second yellows to Monaghan free-taker Paul Finlay after 52 minutes and sub Gavin Doogan ten minutes later robbed the game of the anticipated tight finish.

“This was not a robust encounter, it was not dirty and I can understand why Monaghan will feel aggrieved,” said Kernan. “It is meant to be a manly game and it is not good for the game when two players get dismissed like that.”

Seamus McEnaney was far from happy with the dismissals and felt Monaghan were poised for a big finish until two of his men got their marching orders.

“The game was in the melting pot with 15 minutes to go and the official’s wisdom to give Paul Finlay a yellow card was unbelievable. It was one of the turning points in the game,” he said.

The decision by both sides to run with two-man full-forward lines led to plenty of open football once either side got it through a congested midfield.

But it was Galway who pulled away in the opening quarter, hitting five points without reply in as many minutes to lead by 0-7 to 0-3 after 13 minutes. Most of the scores came from frees as Monaghan struggled to contain Michael Meehan and Nicky Joyce, but Conor McManus was a constant threat at the other end for the visitors.

Fiachra Breathnach landed a brace for Galway from play and it took a fine save from Adrian Faherty to deny McManus a goal ten minutes from the break.

Monaghan needed a good start to the second-half and they got it with quick points from Vincent Corey and McManus before the deficit was reduced to the minimum by the 43rd minute as Tommy Freeman and Finlay found the range.

But Galway responded with captain for the day Michael Meehan pointing to settle their nerves, and while Finlay kicked a monster free from 45 metres, his subsequent sending-off moments later took the wind from their sails.

Galway hit six points without reply in a 15 minute spell that included the dismissal of Doogan, with Meehan landing three of them.

Sean Armstrong, Paul Conroy and Niall Coleman also made use of the extra space to find the range and the game seemed done and dusted as the Tribesmen led by 0-19 to 0-12 with five minutes remaining.

There was time for some drama, however, as Dick Clerkin set Brendan McKenna up for a late goal which left just three between them after McManus had tacked on another two.

The large Monaghan following sensed a last-gasp rescue job but, as the visitors piled forward, Galway struck on the counterattack and the game finished with Nicky Joyce blasting to the net to seal the win.

“The way we performed was a whole lot different than last week,” said Kernan. “There was a lot more commitment from the boys. They were disappointed with themselves last week and rightly so, but we still have a lot of work to be done. We showed a lot of heart and commitment. It was a step up all over the field.”

For Monaghan, though, this was a second consecutive defeat and had few of the redeeming features from their 3-13 to 3-12 loss to Cork last weekend.

Galway scorers: N Joyce (1-4, 0-3f), M Meehan (0-6, 0-5f), S Armstrong (0-5, 0-2f), F Breathnach (0-2), N Coleman (0-1), P Conroy (0-1), G Bradshaw (0-1).

Monaghan: C McManus (0-5, 0-1f), P Finlay (0-4, 0-3f, 0-1 sideline), T Freeman (0-3, 0-1f), B McKenna (1-0), D Malone (0-1), V Corey (0-1).

GALWAY: A Faherty; D O’Neill, F Hanley, T Fahy; G Bradshaw, D Blake, G O’Donnell; J Bergin, P Conroy; N Coleman F Breathnach, C Bane; M Meehan, N Joyce, S Armstrong.

Subs: D Cummins for Breathnach (40), E Concannon for Bane (65).

MONAGHAN: S Duffy; C Greenan, D McArdle, D Hughes; G McQuaid, D Freeman, N McAdam; D Clerkin, F Caulfield; P Finlay, D Malone, C McManus; V Corey, C Hanratty, T Freeman.

Subs: G Doogan for McArdle (27), H McElroy for Hanratty (h-t), B McKenna for Caulfield (46), S Gollogly for Malone (55), K Hughes for Freeman (70).

Referee: Derek Fahy (Longford).

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