Dublin: 13°C Thursday 23 September 2021

5 talking points after Tyrone's Ulster final victory over Monaghan

Tyrone are kings of Ulster for the 16th time.

Tyrone celebrate after the game.
Tyrone celebrate after the game.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

1. Monaghan’s second-half revival

LEADING BY FIVE at half-time, their third quarter showing was most un-Tyrone like. They scored just once between the 35th and 50th minutes, and even that score arrived from a free. It was strange considering how superior they looked for long spells of the first-half. 

Brian Dooher’s men were outscored 0-6 to 0-1 during the 15 minutes after half-time as Monaghan upped their intensity levels and improved their shooting. They missed seven shots at the posts in the opening period, leaving themselves with a mountain to climb. 

But the Farney were vastly improved after the break and credit must go to Seamus ‘Banty’ McEneaney and his players for turning this around. The introductions of Shane Carey, Colin Walshe and Niall Kearns gave them added energy around the middle. 

Ultimately, they put so much effort into hauling themselves back into a frenzied contest that it told down the home straight. Costly misses by Conor McManus and Dessie Ward prevented them from drawing level. No doubt the Monaghan squad left Croke Park with the gnawing feeling they left a glorious opportunity behind him. 

2. Tyrone’s first title of the post-Harte eta

Tyrone secured their first piece of silverware in the post-Mickey Harte era and they were notably more offensive that they have been over the last decade.

They left Mattie Donnelly and Darren McCurry together in a two-man full-forward line, with Mark Bradley slightly withdrawn as a link man. That trio had plenty of joy in the opening period, which was largely due to a healthy supply of ball before things dried up after half-time. 

Defensively, the Red Hands were solid. Monaghan posted four goals in the semi-final but never threatened Niall Morgan’s goal yesterday. Padraig Hampsey held McManus to a point from play and, after a tricky start, Ronan McNamee got to grips with Jack McCarron and quelled his influence on the game. 

Kieran McGeary, Peter Harte and Conor McKenna also had their moments. Tyrone got more game-time into Cathal McShane and Darragh Canavan after their 46th and 54th minute introductions respectively, though both players still look short of full fitness after returning from injury.

conor-mckenna-celebrates-at-the-final-whistle-with-michael-mckernan Conor McKenna celebrates at the final whistle with Darren McCurry. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

3. Covid issue rocks Tyrone camp

Brian Cody spoke recently talk about the difficulty for county managers in handling close-contact situations ‘that can really cripple a team.’

Tyrone joint-manager Feargal Logan was forced to take in the Ulster final from his home following a Covid issue in the camp, which also ruled out several players. 

“I would be very disappointed for Feargal and Feargal would be disappointed not to be here,” said Dooher, who was in communication with his joint-manager during the game.

“I suppose that was the medical advice that had to be adhered to. But Feargal had his input. He was in our ears and had valuable input to contribute during the match. And we took that on board.

“Definitely disappointing not to have him and we will be glad to welcome him back on Tuesday night at training.

“As Feargal said at the start, Covid will have an impact and it will have an impact on every team this year. It impacted us there, but that’s why we have a big panel and a decent backroom, that’s what they are for.”

4. End of tough few weeks for Monaghan

This game was cast in the shadow of tragedy after the death of Monaghan U20 captain Brendan Og Ó Dufaigh two weeks ago.

The number six shirt worn by Ó Dufaigh prior was absent for Friday night’s Ulster U20 decider and a minute silence in Croke Park yesterday remembered the late skipper who Farney boss McEneaney worked with at minor and U20 level. 

Given how small the Monaghan GAA community is, it can’t have been an easy couple of weeks for the county’s senior squad. The spirit they showed in their second-half left their manager with feelings of great pride, despite the defeat.

“We talked about it at half-time and we looked for fight and we looked for all those things, and we got all those things.

“I’ll be honest with you, we talked about work ethic, we talked about what’s in our DNA, fight is in our DNA, the foundations of fight are in our DNA and that’s what we wanted to leave.

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

“I asked them to leave every single ounce of energy on that field before we came back in (from the second-half) and if we done that, then I’d be proud of them and I am proud of them.” 

rory-beggan-and-andrew-woods-with-conor-mckenna Monaghan's Rory Beggan contests a kick-out with Andrew Woods and Conor McKenna. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

5. Tyrone to face Kerry again 

Tyrone had just about enough to see off Monaghan, but the sight of in-form Kerry coming down the tracks will quickly focus the minds.

The 6-15 they conceded to the Kingdom back in June hasn’t been forgotten. It was an embarrassing result for Tyrone but in the three championship games since they’ve conceded just a single green flag.

Asked if he feels Tyrone have improved since that hiding in Killarney, Dooher responded: “I would hope so because that there, to be honest, if we give that second-half performance again I don’t think there’s any point coming down here in a fortnight’s time. We definitely have some homework to do.

“But you know that yourself, you don’t need me to tell you and the players will know that, they know that they’ve got a lot of work to do. I suppose the big message to come from it is that we’re still there and we can still take that work on as opposed to waiting another six or nine months to do it. That’s the big plus here.

“I don’t think anybody will be running away with themselves, if they are then they only need to look at the second-half and just see what there is to work on, there’s a lot to work on. But the boys will take that on board and they’ll work on it and hopefully improve on a few of those things and hopefully tighten up here and there.”

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel