Category: Archive

Monaghan footballers oust Offaly in thriller

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Now, half a year later, these two great-hearted clubs hooked up in thrilling semifinal Sunday that spectators were quick to anoint as match of the year at Gaelic Park.
In the end, Monaghan exulted in their 4-11 to 1-17 victory and place in the Senior B Finals, while Offaly once again were left to wonder how it all slipped away. The answer, as a glance at the score line will show, is goals. Monaghan got four and Offaly could muster just one.
Both of these teams struggled to find form all season, but on this day they laid it all on the line. Monaghan left Martin Slowey on the bench at the start of the match, and if there is a better wingback in this country code, it’s hard to imagine who he is. Slowey, although healthy, was kept on the line, but after 20 minutes, all past sins were forgiven and to the Monaghan supporter’s delight, Slowey raced into the fray.
At that stage Slowey’s grit and skill were badly needed for the Ulster side as Offaly had forged a 0-8 to 1-4 lead. It was only a point but the Midlanders were operating smoothly with Ciaran McManus and Shane Ryan on top at midfield and the Offaly forwards led by Colm Quinn, Dan Leavey, and John Mason looking dangerous.
Monaghan kept in touch with a great bit of skill from Garreth Trainor. After Michael Slowey and Tadgh Fennin laid the groundwork, Trainor breached the Offaly goal with a left-footed midair volley. Offaly went to the break clinging to a 0-9 to 1-4 halftime lead.
Tempers were high and each side had players cautioned by referee John Fitzpatrick as the second half got under way. Monaghan were first out of the gate on the resumption with two points from their lightening quick full forward, Tadgh Fennin. Fennin, the Kildare county star, had been kept relatively quiet in the first half, but there was no holding him in the second. With the Offaly defense at sixes and sevens, Fennin and Slowey combined to spring Declan McEntee for Monaghan’s second goal.
Offaly bounced back with a point from their home county star, Karl Slattery, and followed that with a goal from another county Offaly man, Shane Ryan. Offaly added two more points from McManus and Colm Quinn and the Faithful were feeling their oats.
But Monaghan were having none of it. Fennin and Michael Slowey began to tear through the Offaly defense, stretching it past its breaking point with speed and skill.
Michael Slowey, playing center half forward on this afternoon, twice victimized the Offaly defense with spirit-sapping goals. But Offaly, as their nickname indicates, kept the faith. McManus, who had seemed to tire, roused himself to rally Offaly and after a Ryan point, Offaly trailed by 0-3 when McManus was fouled.
With time slipping away, and seemingly all the Monaghan players blocking the goal, McManus blasted hard and low. There was no way through. Monaghan turned back McManus and Offaly too, and next week they’ll take the field versus Clare for the Senior B Championship.
Man of the Match: Tadgh Fennin.
Monaghan: Paul McGlynn (0-1), Brian McKenna, Bonnie Duffy, Louis Breslin, Brian Lacey, Bernard Treanor, Garrettt Duffy, Rauri O’Neill, Hughie O’Sullivan, Paddy Skeath, Michael Slowey (2-0), Garrettt Trainor (1-0), Darren Quinn (1-1), Tadgh Fennin (0-7, 4 frees), Dixie McEntee (0-1). Subs: Martin Slowey, Mickey Art Trainor (0-1), Dave Ballantine.
Offaly: Kieran Farrelly, Chris Willis, Sean Nolan, Mark Dolan, Karl Slattery (0-1), Enda Condren, Garrett Reilly (0-1), Shane Ryan (1-2), Ciaran McManus (0-2, 2 frees), Brendan Moran (0-1), James Mitchell (0-1), David McGuiness, Colm Quinn(0-6, all frees), Dan Leavy (0-1), John Mason (0-2). Sub: Dan Sheehan.

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