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Monaghan V Kerry in Super 8's

For Monaghan to draw with the Kingdom any day is a good result until yesterday when, after the final whistle, one would think that Kerry had defeated Monaghan. The manner in which the result came about is what made the draw hard to take as Monaghan had the game more or less won but Kerry never gave in and got the equaliser in Injury Time. This is happening very often these days and it really poses questions. Monaghan had the upper hand for the First half and maintained a lead to the interval. Indeed when they got the early goal many expected that they would build a substantial lead and win fairly easily but it is Kerry they were playing and Kerry needed the win badly. In the second half Kerry were a different outfit and began putting moves together and, in my estimation, used physicality to divert the Monaghan players' attentions from the ball to the man. Players, who become focused on getting the man, cannot keep their eye on the ball and that appeared to happen on Sunday but Monaghan struggled during the second half and could not get more than two scores ahead. Then as full time approached there seemed a complacency and an effort to hold possession until the final whistle but, as with many other teams, that is when the enemy can strike and take the plaudits. There were also a couple of changes made and that seemed to upset the team. Up to then it was very much a team effort with players supporting each other and providing plenty of options and players knew where others were but then that faded and it became a game of individuals with little support and lacking in composure and purpose. Perhaps it was also a sign of fatigue as they had sustained a very physical and bruising encounter throughout the 70 minutes and their energy was sapped. The supporters were plentiful and vociferous all the way and did their best to encourage the team to the finish. Some felt that there was a small contingent of Kerry supporters but when that goal went in the huge roar that went up showed that Kerry had abundant patrons in the grounds. The road ahead for Monaghan is full of 'if's' and 'but's' and other results can determine Monaghan in or out. However they need to re-group, re-charge the batteries, and head to Salthill to face Galway and make sure of 2 points to remove the maybe's. We wish them a good rest and renewed vigour for the task ahead.
The referee did a good job in that he was unbiased in his approach though a couple of his decisions might have been questioned. Players from both sides took issue with him at times but that is always a waste of time and effort and is a distraction for the player and his colleagues and another reason why players take their eye off the ball. However my big annoyance at games is to watch referees let rough and dangerous physical tackles go without taking action early to stop it developing into heated exchanges and also to provide protection for the players who very often end up with injuries. Pulling, pushing, punching, holding, nipping, and all that type of action is not nice to watch or be involved in and referees can take action to end it early.
I would add congratulations to the people who made sure that Clones pitch was in top shape for the occasion - it was a terrific spectacle and the huge crowd provided the magical atmosphere, which could not be matched by any other venue. It is the home of Ulster Football.

Part 2 .. HERE

The youngest supporter I could find at the game in Clones is pictured below. She is Anna O'Reardon and is 11 weeks old. However I am not sure which team she supports as she was wearing a jersey which had the Monaghan colours on the right side and Dublin on the left. She is pictured with her parents - Áine, nee Kerr, and Aodhán.