Electric Ireland MFC Semi-Final
Courtesy of GAA.ie
By Paul Keane at Glenisk O’Connor Park, Tullamore
Monaghan are within an hour of a maiden Electric Ireland All-Ireland MFC title after holding off the Munster champions to secure a first final spot since 1939.
Tommy Mallen’s fortunate goal for the Farney just before half-time ultimately separated the sides as Dermot Malone’s outfit held on for a famous win.
Beaten by Kerry at this stage in 2018, there was no repeat this time as MaxMcGinnity and Sean Og McElwain fired 0-9 between them to propel the Ulster finalists through to the July 8/9 final.
Mallen finished with 1-1 and will be a marked man in the national final which will be a repeat of the Ulster final if Derry beat Dublin in tomorrow’s second All-Ireland semi-final.
Mallen’s goal, a long free that somehow found its way to the net, put Monaghan into a lead that they didn’t relinquish despite Kerry throwing the kitchen sink at it late on and carving two goal chances for key forward Paddy Lane.
Monaghan set up with a clear plan in mind to frustrate and stifle Kerry attacker Lane who approached the game with 2-26 to his credit from four outings.
Fresh off 1-7 in the All-Ireland quarter-final defeat of Kildare, Lane was man-marked by Jack Lynch while Tomas Quinn, wearing number 13, dropped deep as an extra defender for Monaghan.
Lane often found himself double-marked though still wriggled away in the second quarter of the game for two points from play and two more from frees.
At the other end, Kerry defender Isaac Brosnan was detailed to keep tabs on Monaghan danger man McGinnity who had hit 3-38 in his team’s previous eight championship games.
McGinnity struck three points in a row from frees between the 11th and 19th minutes, winning two of those frees himself.
But four-in-a-row from Lane approaching half-time left Kerry with a 0-7 to 0-5 lead and, with stoppage time almost up, apparently in a commanding position.
But Mallen’s goal moments before the break changed the game, the flight of his free in from the 45-metre line catching out goalkeeper James Hoare who couldn’t keep it out.
That left Monaghan with a 1-5 to 0-7 half-time lead and when Mallen won a free that McGinnity converted after the restart, the gap was out to three points.
It remained that way at the three-quarter mark with Monaghan enjoying more of the possession and Kerry desperate to find a spark to ignite their bid for a final place.
They twice reduced their arrears to two points following scores from Tomas Kennedy and Lane but that was as good as it got for the Kingdom.
Lane did have a 60th minute shot at goal but the large Monaghan support at the midlands venue burst into applause when goalkeeper Jamie Mooney saved and McElwain fired his fourth point of the afternoon to seal it shortly after.
Scorers for Monaghan: Max McGinnity 0-5 (0-5f), Tommy Mallen 1-1 (1-0f), Sean Og McElwain 0-4 (0-1m, 0-2f), Matthew Carolan 0-1.
Scorers for Kerry: Paddy Lane 0-6 (0-4f), Paudie Fitzgerald 0-1, Daniel Kirby 0-1, Oisin Healy 0-1 (0-1m), Aaron Kennelly 0-1, Tomas Kennedy 0-1.
MONAGHAN: Jamie Mooney; Jack Lynch, Conor Meehan, Cian Greenan; Tomas Quinn, Donnachadh Connolly, Andrew Stuart; Matthew Carolan, Conor Jones; Luke McKenna, Tommy Mallen, Canice Murphy; Sean Og McElwain, Max McGinnity, Matthew Finn.
Subs: Caolan Clerkin for Greenan h/t, Sean O’Connell for Murphy 40, Max Maguire for McGinnity 49, Ethan McCaffrey for McKenna 59, Jamie McCaughey for Stewart 64.
KERRY: James Hoare; David Mulvihill, Isaac Brosnan, Keelan O’Shea; Padraig Moynihan, Gearoid Evans, Daniel Kirby; Ben Murphy, Evan Boyle; Paudie Fitzgerald, Tomas Kennedy, Sean O Cuinn; Dara Hogan, Oisin Healy, Paddy Lane.
Subs: Stephen Gannon for Hogan 40, Aaron Kennelly for O Cuinn 43, Darragh O’Keeffe for Healy 45, Aaron Carey for Fitzgerald 53, Jamie Moynihan for Brosnan 53.
Referee: John Gilmartin (Sligo).