Monaghan always have a chance says Hanratty

By Shaun Casey

MONAGHAN have never beaten Kerry in the championship. Despite a couple of close encounters down through the years, a draw in the 2018 ‘Super 8s’ was as close as they have come to downing the Kingdom.

There were the couple of incredible chances during the ‘noughties’ (2007 and 2008), when Monaghan were a kick of a ball away from ending that record against the kingpins of Gaelic football, but they just couldn’t get over the line.

Now ahead of their opening group game at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, Monaghan seem further away than ever to ending that dominant Kerry stranglehold. Away to the Munster champions and one of the favourites for the All-Ireland, things couldn’t be much tougher.

Ciaran Hanratty played in those 2007 and 2008 classic clashes at Croke Park, alongside current Monaghan boss Vinny Corey, and in typical Farney fashion, he has a never say die attitude.

“Obviously it’s difficult having to go down there,” said Hanratty. “Even logistics and the travel just makes it a wee bit trickier but by the same token I wouldn’t be blown away by Kerry, they’ve been up and down this year.

“They were okay throughout the league and throughout the Munster Championship.

“Cork gave them a pretty good rattle and Clare gave them a pretty good rattle in the final, albeit they where probably never going to beat them.

He continued: “I think Monaghan will be going into the game thinking they have a chance.

“If we look around, outside of maybe the two Cliffords (David and Paudie), Monaghan probably think that they can match up with most of the other guys that Kerry have.

“At the same time, David Clifford, so far in the championship anyway, hasn’t really been lighting it up just yet. He’s the difference maker and if Monaghan can keep a handle on him, then I think they’ll have a chance.”

Keeping out the goals will be key for Corey’s side, but two massive pieces of their defensive structure are likely to miss out. Darren Hughes picked up a season-ending injury against Cavan the last day out and his absence will be sorely missed.

The combative Scotstown man quite often plays the sweeper role in the Monaghan rearguard and his experience, drive and defensive capabilities have made him one of the first names on the team sheet throughout his career.

Throw into the mix the Rory Beggan situation, which is still up in the air, and it looks likely that he’ll play no part this Saturday afternoon. Beggan was a late addition to the Monaghan starting team against Cavan and even picked up the BBC Man of the Match award.

Without those two stalwarts, Monaghan could struggle to key down a Kerry forward unit that carry a huge scoring threat in the Clifford brothers and Sean O’Shea.

“Looking back at the league results the last couple of years, it’s goals have been the killer,” added Hanratty.

“There’s been two or three goals most of the time in those games and it’s hardly rocket science to say Monaghan really need to keep goals out to keep themselves in the game. If Kerry gets a sniff then they do have a habit of going for the juggler like that.

“If they start getting goals,, then that’s going to be huge. I think if Monaghan can keep them to just points, they’re going to be in the mix, although Kerry can still rack up 17, 18, 19, 20 points.

“I don’t have a good enough update on Rory’s whereabouts or his situation, but Darren is a huge miss.

“It’s probably not a coincidence that the two goals against Cavan happened after Darren was taken off with the injury the last day. Finding somebody who will have the same know-how as Darren to find themselves in the right positions to help shore up the defence, I’m not sure there is an obvious person to just fit into his shoes.”

And, of course, there is that ‘wonder boy’ from Fossa to worry about.

“I think Kerry have good forwards, though probably not the calibre of forwards that they had ten years ago when you had more household names,.

“They obviously have the boy wonder to call on and if he catches fire then he’s usually the difference maker. With a lot of the other players, Monaghan can match up okay with them but Kerry do like to sniff a bit of blood, especially David Clifford.”

Last meeting
GOALS win games and two second half majors from the visiting side helped to open up some distance between the sides when they last met back in early February. Kerry had held a four-point lead at the break, 1-9 to 1-5, before pushing on after the turnaround.

Ryan O’Toole’s three-point had Monaghan in touch but David Clifford, sprung from the bench for his first appearance of 2024, rattled the net while Sean O’Shea also raised a green flag for Jack O’Connor’s men as they ran out comfortable nine-point winners.

2024 – Monaghan 1-12 Kerry 3-15
Monaghan: D McDonnell, R Wylie, K Lavelle, R O’Toole 1-0, K Sheridan, K Duffy (0-1 1m), K Loughran, J Wilson, G Mohan (0-1), S O’Hanlon (0-1), C McNulty (0-1), M Hamill (0-1), D Garland, J McCarron (0-3 1m), J Irwin (0-1).
Subs: S Mooney (0-2 1m) for D Garland, M McCarville (0-1) for J Wilson, A Woods for J Irwin, K O’Connell for K Sheridan, B Walker for K Loughran.

Kerry: S Ryan, G O’Sullivan, J Foley (0-1), D Casey (0-1), G White, T O’Sullivan (0-2), P Murphy, D O’Connor, J O’Connor, R Buckley, D Geaney, C Burke (1-0), C Geaney (0-1), S O’Shea (1-7 2f), D Moynihan (0-1).
Subs: D Clifford (1-1) for R Buckley, P Clifford (0-1) for C Geaney, T Morley for T O’Sullivan, A Spillane for D Geaney, BD O’Sullivan for D Moynihan.

Last five meetings
2024 – Monaghan 1-12 Kerry 3-15– NFL
2023 – Kerry 3-16 Monaghan 0-14 – NFL
2022 – Monaghan 1-12 Kerry 3-14– NFL
2020 – Monaghan 0-14 Kerry 0-17– NFL
2019 – Kerry 0-17 Monaghan 0-13 – NFL

Season so far


McKenna Cup
Monaghan 1-15 Antrim 0-13
Fermanagh 0-12 Monaghan 2-9
Monaghan 0-11 Donegal 4-14

Dublin 1-14 Monaghan 3-9
Monaghan 1-12 Kerry 3-15
Derry 3-17 Monaghan 0-13
Roscommon 1-16 Monaghan 0-7
Monaghan 0-14 Galway 3-12
Tyrone 1-19 Monaghan 2-13
Monaghan 1-14 Mayo 2-13

Monaghan 1-12 Cavan 3-12


McGrath Cup
Kerry 3-20 Tipperary 0-10
Limerick 0-11 Kerry 6-18
Kerry 1-14 Cork 1-14 (3-4 penalties)

Kerry 2-8 Derry 0-15
Monaghan 1-12 Kerry 3-15
Kerry 0-16 Mayo 0-15
Dublin 3-18 Kerry 1-14
Kerry 0-18 Tyrone 1-11
Roscommon 1-11 Kerry 1-17
Kerry 0-15 Galway 1-10

Kerry 0-18 Cork 1-12
Clare 1-13 Kerry 0-23

Top Scorers

Sean O’Shea 2-58 (28f, 3m, 1 45)
David Clifford 1-33 (11f, 2m)
Dylan Geaney 2-9

Jack McCarron 2-25 (13f, 3m)
Stephen Mooney 0-18 (8f, 1m)
Micheál Bannigan 0-12 (5f, 1m)

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