Nicky Rackard Cup Round Two
Monaghan 1-17 Fingal 2-12 30/4/11
Monaghan qualified for the Nicky Rackard Cup semi-finals with a surprise win away to Fingal in Swords on Saturday. Having lost by 17 points when the sides met in the NHL in February, Frank Brady’s side weren’t given much chance, but they gave a much-improved performance. Monaghan’s spirited display, which saw them come from five points down to outscore Fingal by ten points to three in the second half, was fully deserving of the win. Monaghan survived a late penalty claim, but they were due a break, as a few earlier decisions had gone in favour of the hosts.
Mickey McHugh scored 1-13, while he had good support from Trevor Hilliard, Éanna Mac Suibhne, Gary Boyd, Stephen Lambe and Peter Treanor. Davy Byrne, who scored two goals, led the way for Fingal, along with Aodhán McInerney, John M Sheridan, Peter Daly and Dermot Vaughan.
A 30-metre free by John M Sheridan, after a foul on Davy Byrne got Fingal up and running, but Mickey McHugh brought Monaghan level from a 20-metre free, following a foul on Gary Boyd. Peter Daly restored Fingal’s lead, which was increased when Byrne fired over after he had been well-placed by Sheridan, who then converted a free for a foul on Dermot Vaughan. Éanna Mac Suibhne got Monaghan’s first point from play, before McHugh and Sheridan swapped points from 25-metre frees after fouls on Brian McGuigan and Sheridan himself.
McHugh hit the next three points to edge Monaghan ahead for the first time. The first of the trio came from play, followed by a ’65 and a 20-metre free, which he had won. Fingal hit back on 22 minutes, though, when Monaghan failed to deal with a centre from Aodhán McInerney, allowing Byrne to score his first goal. Monaghan responded well, as McHugh converted a 50-metre free for a foul on Ronan Meegan before getting on the end of a great assist from Mac Suibhne to score Monaghan’s only goal of the game.
Fingal finished the first half very strongly, however, as they hit 1-4 without reply in the final five minutes. Well-taken points by McInerney (two) and Sheridan were followed by Byrne’s second goal when the full-forward lashed home after taking a pass from Daly. Sheridan powered over a long-range free after a foul on Vaughan to give the north-Dublin side a five-point lead at half-time: 2-9 to 1-7.
The gap widened to six within ten seconds of the throw-in as Daly pinched a point from play, but McHugh kept Monaghan in touch with points from a ’65 and a 40-metre free, after a foul on Meegan. McHugh then won a 20-metre free, which he tapped over the bar, before hitting a great point from an 80-metre free after a foul on Trevor Hilliard. Stephen Lambe brought Monaghan back to within a point with a good score from play after good work by Pauric Dowdall and he quickly added a second to level it up, following a one-two with McGuigan.
Byrne got Fingal’s first score for 19 minutes when he sent a first-time shot over the bar after a McInerney centre broke loose and they re-opened a two-point lead when Sheridan converted a 30-metre free for a foul on Daly. McHugh continued to put on an exhibition of finishing as he scored his third ’65 of the day before equalising from a 25-metre free, following a foul on Hilliard and giving Monaghan the lead with a free from inside his own half, after a foul on Boyd. Hilliard added a fine point from play and Monaghan held on to book their place in the semi-finals, which will be played on May 21.
Monaghan: H Byrne; A Lambe, P Murphy, P Treanor; S Roche, P Dowdall, J McHugh; G Boyd, T Hilliard (Capt., 0-1); S Lambe (0-2), S Leonard, É Mac Suibhne (0-1); B McGuigan, M McHugh (1-13, 0-9f, 0-3 ‘65s), R Meegan.
Subs: M Treanor for Roche (inj., 50 mins), M Murphy for McGuigan (70).
Fingal: C Harford; P Coyne, R Sheridan, N Ring; M Cussen, D Vaughan, R McGarry; P McAllister, D Keogh; A McInerney (0-2), P Daly (0-2), JM Sheridan (0-6, 5f); A Morris, D Byrne (2-2), B McCarthy.
Subs: G Dillon for Morris, A Richardson for McAllister, H Murray-Hession for Harford (all 45).
Referee: S Cleere (Kilkenny).