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Monaghan v Tyrone, All Ireland SFC quarter final match guide

It should be lively at Croke Park this evening. Here is our in depth guide for the last eight clash.

Tyrone's Conor Gormley has a crucial role to play.
Tyrone's Conor Gormley has a crucial role to play.
Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

All-Ireland SFC quarter-final

Monaghan v Tyrone

Saturday, 5pm

Croke Park

Referee: Cormac Reilly (Meath)

Latest from the medics and management….

Monaghan go with an unchanged starting XV from the side which defeated Dongeal in the Ulster final. Tyrone boss Mickey Harte has opted to give a recall to Dermot Carlin, who replaces Ryan McKenna.

Still people get the feeling that the numbers on the players’ backs on Saturday won’t be of the utmost importance and there should be positional changes. Several of them.

MONAGHAN: Rory Beggan (Scotstown); Kieran Duffy (Latton), Drew Wylie (Ballybay), Colin Walshe (Doohamlet); Vincent Corey (Clontibret), Neil McAdam (Monaghan Harps), Dessie Mone (Clontibret); Owen Lennon (Latton), Darren Hughes (Scotstown
); Paul Finlay (Ballybay), Stephen Gollogly (Carrickmacross), Dermot Malone (Castleblayney); Padraig Donaghy (Donaghmoyne
), Kieran Hughes (Scotstown), Conor McManus (Clontibret).

TYRONE: Pascal McConnell (Newtownstewart); Dermot Carlin (Killyclogher), Conor Clarke (Omagh), Cathal McCarron (Dromore); Ciaran McGinley (Errigal Ciarán), Peter Harte (Errigal Ciarán), Conor Gormley (Carrickmore); Colm Cavanagh (Moy), Sean Cavanagh (Moy); Mattie Donnelly (Trillick), Mark Donnelly (Carrickmore), Joe McMahon (Omagh); Darren McCurry (Edendork), Stephen O’Neill (Clann na nGael), Martin Penrose (Carrickmore).

Checking the odds…..

Tyrone’s pedigree is respected by the bookies, who have them installed as 8/15 favourites. Ulster champions Monaghan are 15/8, and the draw is 15/2.

Clues from the form guide….

Tyrone are back in familiar All Ireland quarter-final territory. Despite losing to Donegal in Ulster, back door victories over Offaly, Roscommon, Kildare, and Meath leave them heartened heading to Croke Park again.

The pace and temperature has risen in every one of those clashes so they have acquired some form. Getting into the last four is their next challenge and it is an itch they surprisingly haven’t scratched since 2009.

Monaghan are bringing that too. Antrim were defeated, then Monaghan coped with neighbours Cavan in a dour provincial semi-final that was simply for winning.

Donegal were next on the agenda and Monaghan were undoubtedly ready for that one. A performance that had pluck and a bit of polish ensured the Anglo Celt was reclaimed by Monaghan.

Diligent defensively with a work ethic that verged on the heroic Monaghan didn’t give Donegal an inch. Donegal’s attack were frustrated and Monaghan prevailed as Kieran Hughes provided the sharp attacking blade inside.

Monaghan’s Kieran Hughes
Pic: INPHO/Donall Farmer

The game breakers are….

Leadership was required and subsequently demonstrated by Sean Cavanagh against Meath. All of his eight points carried meaning because they arrived at crucial moments during a fine match.

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Despite leaking an early goal Tyrone then only allowed Meath crafted three further scoring chances from play in the remaining 28 minutes of the first half. How did they achieve that? The Cavanaghs’ were immense at centrefield, Colm might be unheralded, but he was a willing accomplice to the decorated Sean, who kicked the frees and continually probed.

Another vital cog in the Tyrone machine is Conor Gormley. Will Monaghan allow Gormley act in the sweeping role that Mickey Harte usually wants to employ him? Gormley reads the game and has the raw power to upset attackers, especially when aiding and abetting colleagues already on man marking missions. There is a good cut to the Monaghan attack, but will Monaghan release him to drive Tyrone from the back?

In the Ulster decider when Monaghan had to earn tough and dirty possession Kieran Hughes repeatedly made influential plays. Kicking three points added another layer of quality so the breadth of his game is decent. Attempting to display it at headquarters against a revitalised and raucous Tyrone is the next assessment.

Hughes, though, was instrumental for Monaghan who drilled some beautiful cross field deliveries and Donegal were agitated. There is even more room in Croker, but will Tyrone permit Monaghan to use it? Gormley will try to sit in the pocket and call the tune. Hughes won’t shirk the responsibility and he will show for ball.

In Tyrone a certain footballer by the name of Brian Dooher brought many virtues to a champion team. On Ulster final day in Clones there was a Dooheresque class to what Padraig Donaghy did. A late inclusion on the team Donaghy was splendid, knitting the play and constantly moving and searching for breaks.

Tyrone’s Sean Cavanagh
Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

Gazing into the crystal ball….

It is extremely difficult to be definitive about this one. Tyrone have done enough to in the qualifiers to suggest they can win another match or two at least. Monaghan simply opened up the Championship in breathtaking fashion summoning a triumph over Donegal that was as much about dynamism as it was about defiance.

Can they reach that altitude again? Monaghan might have to because Tyrone are gathering hope and that vital summer ingredient: momentum. That isn’t just what Tyrone possess because their panel is sprinkled with guile and experience. Pascal McConnell was steady through the qualifiers, Gormley’s presence ensures Peter Harte can venture forward, often to telling effect.

The Cavanagh’s have power, pace, and Sean is precise too. Mattie Donnelly’s ability to pop up at the end of moves owes much to his soaring energy levels, while Martin Penrose has a big 2013 performance in him. Darren McCurry’s left peg also could have a real say going forward. Tyrone have plenty to feel good about.

Monaghan’s progression under Malachy O’Rourke has been one of the stories of the summer once again confirming what can be done when a manager extracts the most from his resources.

O’Rourke’s impact in his maiden seasons with club teams is noteworthy and Monaghan will head into this battle with a live, fighting chance. Thirty yards away from O’Rourke under the Hogan Stand, Harte will stand quietly with his familiar matchday pose, and he can direct Tyrone to the penultimate stage even if this develops into a gripping game.

Verdict: Tyrone

Monaghan manager Malachy O’Rourke
Pic: INPHO/Donall Farmer

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