Monaghan and Dublin drew with 1-15 apiece on February 8 in Round 3 of the Allianz National Football League
A week earlier, Seamus “Banty” McEnaney had celebrated a rare win over Tyrone in Division 1 of the Allianz NFL – on Saturday night at Croke Park he was left to rue a missed opportunity to turn over All-Ireland champions Dublin in a cracking encounter that ended on 1-15 apiece.
Monaghan had their chances to down the Dubs on the sacred sod and then some. Boosted by an early goal from top scorer Conor McManus after just 43 seconds, the Farney led by nine points at the interval of a game threatened with ruin by the horrendous weather conditions.
Dublin were again nine points behind, 1-14 to 0-8, with just 10 minutes remaining as new coach Dessie Farrell stared a first NFL defeat in the face. His response was to send Kevin McManamon, Colm Basquel and Sean Bugler into battle. Their response was to save this game for the Dubs.
A McManamon goal in the final minute of normal time proved vital – a last gasp point from full-back Davy Byrne deep in added time proved crucial as the unlikely scorer grabbed the unlikely equalizer.
An honest Farrell told RTE Sport after that dramatic finale, “We were slow to get out of the traps in the first half. Very sluggish, lethargic and a lot of stuff gone wrong for us all over the pitch.
“So, we were thankful to the halftime whistle to get in to regroup and try and sort some of it out. I didn’t say an awful lot at the break. They are very experienced bunch themselves. We just looked at the intensity level that we were playing at and examined that.
“I think it’s fair to say that we upped it in the intensity stakes in the second half and we were able to put some scores together at the end when it mattered most. And to be honest at halftime, we weren’t too concerned with the result at that stage but the performance was just so poor in the first half and they are better than that.”
There were mixed emotions in the away dressing room at Croker. “We’re delighted to get a point. We’re playing the All-Ireland champions, the five-time All-Ireland champions, they are not that for nothing,” Monaghan manager McEnaney told RTE.
“That said, we are disappointed that we haven’t come out with two points, but there is loads of character in this group. Dublin got a run on us and got the goal. It was a crucial score that brought it back to threes.”
Dublin v Monaghan Full-Time Highlights
Watch the Full-Time Highlights from Round 3 of the Allianz National Football League as Dublin come back to make it a draw against Monaghan! Full-Time Score: Dublin: 1-15 Monaghan 1-15Publiée par GAA sur Samedi 8 février 2020
In other Division 1 results, anger and disappointment were mixed together as Meath boss Andy McEntee reflected on his team’s late defeat to Mayo in Navan, Kevin McLoughlin’s last minute goal sentencing the Royals to a third straight top flight defeat and by just a point, 1-9 to 2-5.
“A deep frustration but a couple of emotions really,” said McEntee after his team’s second half revival fell foul of that McLoughlin goal and disputed timekeeping on the part of referee Seán Hurson.
“There seems to be one rule for the bigger teams and a different rule for the smaller teams. Dublin get an extra two minutes last night to get an equalizing score.
“We don’t get two seconds when at least one player is blatantly lying on the ground for 30 seconds holding his head because of a head injury. But we get to two seconds over and the final whistle goes. So maybe you could understand my frustration.”
Mayo boss James Horan reflected, “With 10 or 12 minutes to go, Meath were on top, they were ahead, the crowd were behind them, the wind was behind them.
“It was a daunting task but I thought the way we stuck in there and won a couple of crucial breaks showed real character and I’m delighted all the guys stuck in. We pinched two points, I’m delighted and we’ll move on.”
Watch the Full-Time Highlights from Round 3 of the Allianz National Football League between Meath and Mayo here on GAANOW!Publiée par GAA sur Dimanche 9 février 2020
Galway were seven points down, 2-5 to 0-4, early in the second half in Letterkenny but then took advantage of the heavy wind at their back to win by a point, 2-8 to 2-7, thanks to goals from defenders Johnny Heaney and Sean Kelly.
“It was a massive recovery, but the boys showed great character and great heart,” Joyce told the media after Donegal’s Ciaran Thompson missed a late chance to equalize from a free.
“It has been questioned in Galway before, having heart and character, and had we the bottle for these big matches. To come to Donegal and get two points is no easy feat so hats off, I’m so proud of the lads and I’m so proud to be their manager.”
Galway v Donegal Full-Time Highlights
Watch the Full-Time Highlights from Galway v Donegal in Round 3 of the Allianz National Football League here on GAANOW! Full Time Score: Galway 2-08 Donegal 2-07Publiée par GAA sur Dimanche 9 février 2020
Tyrone had Cathal McShane back in their ranks and on the field as a substitute in their 0-14 to 0-13 win over Kerry, the game moved from Omagh to Edendork as a result of Storm Ciara.
McShane came off the bench five minutes into the second half as the Red Hand looked to overturn a halftime deficit of 0-8 to 0-4 and did just that but only after Kerry captain David Clifford was controversially sent off for a second yellow card offence.
Tyrone boss Mickey Harte welcomed McShane’s decision to turn down a move to Aussie Rules football with the Adelaide Crows. “We are all delighted that he made the decision to stay and play Gaelic football,” Harte said.
“He’s a super player, you will only see him getting better, that’s only a taste of what he can do.
“We were aware that he was considering his options. I always said, as long as he hasn’t signed anything for the AFL, I was still optimistic that he would deal with us and thankfully, through the auspices of the good people of Tyrone, he is staying.
“I don’t want to get into political rows with another football organization but enough to say that I like players playing Gaelic football and there is no payback for us from the AFL. It’s a win-win for them if they get Gaelic players. We never get anything back from then.”
An edgy second half saw Tyrone’s Peter Harte red carded for a second booking in the 58th minute and Kerry’s Jack Barry and home defender Ronan McNamee black carded before Clifford bizarrely saw red after he was dragged down by Ben McDonnell.
Referee Fergal Kelly was widely criticized afterwards for the decision to send Clifford to the line with RTE pundit Ciaran Whelan leading the charge. “We really need referees to start to stand up to this and see common sense,” said Clifford.
“We saw the incident, the umpires were behind the goal. David Clifford is not going to be instigating. He’s the key player and he gets dragged to the ground and picks up a yellow card and you can see how frustrated, how annoyed he is.
“It’s been a bugbear of mine for a couple of years that when the key players are targets, they get sucked in and get a silly yellow card. We need common sense. Terrible decision by Fergal Kelly.”
A subdued Kerry manager Peter Keane said, “It is easy pickings to say that there are two fellas involved and I will give both of them both yellows and, because he had picked up one early in the first half, two yellows make a red.
“I suppose whether it is this year, last year, the year before, he is a good player and you are going to mark a good player whoever he is.”