By Shaun Casey
MONAGHAN have the chance to dethrone the reigning Ulster champions Tyrone this weekend, but manager Dermot Malone believes they “have it all to do.”
“Tyrone at any age group and at any level are always going to be hard to beat and they’ve got that bit of pedigree behind them, and we’ll have it all to do,” said Malone.
The Red Hands were handsome winners over Fermanagh in the quarter-finals while Monaghan saw off Armagh with 11-points to spare.
“I think probably when you look at the end of the game, it probably was a fair reflection,” said Malone of their last eight victory.
“We left an awful lot behind us, we were under no illusions though coming into this game that, particularly in the first half, when you look at all of Armagh’s previous three or four games, there’s only one or two points in it (at half time).
“They do play a very defensive style of football and that does take quite a bit of time to break down and we knew that going into this game.
“We had the intentions of trying to keep the scores down and no goals initially in the first half, they kicked 2-2, they only kicked four scores so you can’t be too critical of the defence.
“An awful lot of the time you’d criticise your defenders for conceding the goals, but I think initially I’d look at where we lost the ball up the field.
“We made some stupid decisions, going down through the middle of the field where they had numbers and I’d look at cutting off the initial turnover rather than criticising our defenders, but it is something we’ll have to look at.”
Monaghan created plenty of goal chances themselves, but only Max McGinnity and John McCrystal hit the net. They could, and probably should, have finished the game with five majors, but Malone pointed to the quality of the Armagh net minder Liam Carroll
“We couldn’t get the ball into the net, but I do think a lot of credit has to go to the Armagh goalkeeper, he made a couple of outstanding saves, and the shots were on,” added the two-time Ulster Championship winner. “Usually, our finishing is really good but the goalkeeper did really well so I think it would be hard to criticise our boys.”