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NHL: Monaghan off to winning start

February 26th, 2012

Allianz National Hurling League Division 3A

Monaghan 1-18 Donegal 1-11                      26/2/12                       



Monaghan got their NHL campaign off to a fine start with a seven-point win over Donegal in wet conditions at Clones on Sunday. Monaghan started slowly and found themselves six points adrift by the time Mickey McHugh opened their account on 15 minutes, but they then hit 1-11 without reply (the goal from Seán Leonard) to take charge. Donegal emerged in the second half with renewed vigour, but Monaghan hit the last four points to secure a deserved victory. Monaghan’s midfield duo of Trevor Hilliard and captain Gary Boyd had good games, along with Peter Treanor, Jim McHugh and Paul Meegan, while Mickey McHugh top-scored with eight points from frees. Niall Campbell, Jamsie Donnelly and Lee Henderson led Donegal’s challenge.

Donegal took less than a minute to open the scoring through a Niall Campbell point, before Jamsie Donnelly powered over a 70-metre free after he had been fouled. Lee Henderson made it three-nil to Donegal and he then doubled their lead when he pulled on a loose ball to send it to the net when a Campbell free dropped short. Monaghan belatedly got off the mark when Mickey McHugh won and scored a 45-metre free and they quickly built on that to get a foothold in the game. A run by Brian McGuigan created a goal-chance for Michael Lennon and although his shot was blocked by Donegal keeper Paul Burns, the rebound fell for Seán Leonard to send over Monaghan’s first point from play. McHugh converted a brace of 40-metre frees for fouls on midfielders Gary Boyd and Trevor Hilliard, before Martin Murphy closed the gap to the minimum. A good point from Boyd brought Monaghan level and they edged ahead for the first time when a foul on Hilliard allowed McHugh to hit his third point from a 60-metre free. Peter Treanor linked up with Boyd to set off on a surging run and fire over the bar and Monaghan got a major boost on 31 minutes when Burns failed to deal with a dangerous ball in from Séamus Loftus, allowing Leonard to turn the ball home from close range. McHugh won and scored a 30-metre free to continue Monaghan’s dominance and he finished the half on a high when he sent over a 50-metre free after Eugene Organ had been penalised for over-carrying, giving the hosts a 1-11 to 1-3 half-time lead.

Niall Campbell sent over a long-range free after a foul on Paul Sheridan to end 26 scoreless minutes for Donegal and he followed it up by tapping over a 20-metre free, following an infringement on Enda McDermott. Organ took a pass from Kevin Campbell to add a point from play for Donegal, whose goalkeeper came to their rescue when he stopped a goalbound effort from Monaghan sub Noel Morgan, who had latched onto a Mickey McHugh centre. Martin Murphy hit Monaghan’s first point of the second half after a Stephen Lambe ’65 dropped short, but Niall Campbell responded with three points from frees – a brace of efforts from
30 metres after fouls on Michael McGee and Organ, either side of one from well out the field after Paul Meegan had been adjudged to have over-carried. A foul on Morgan allowed Mickey McHugh to take his point from a 20-metre free, before he set up Meegan to thump over a great score from distance, but Donnelly hit a huge point from a free inside his own half after a throw-ball decision went against Monaghan. Campbell reduced the gap to three when he converted another 30-metre free for a foul on Organ, but Lambe raced through to fire over his only point of the game at the end of a well-worked move involving Boyd and Hilliard. Leonard added a well-taken point, before Noel Morgan got on the end of a pass from fellow sub Aonghus Mac Suibhne to put six between the teams. A strong run by Lambe created a second point for Morgan in injury-time to seal an encouraging opening win for Monaghan, who will be away to Fingal in round two on March 11.



Monaghan: R McAteer; P Murphy, J McHugh, M Treanor; P Meegan (0-1), P Treanor (0-1), S Loftus; G Boyd (Capt., 0-1), T Hilliard; M Murphy (0-2), S Lambe (0-1), M McHugh (0-8f); M Lennon, S Leonard (1-2), B McGuigan.

Subs: N Morgan (0-2) for McGuigan (inj., 32 mins), A Mac Suibhne for Lennon (52).


Donegal: P Burns; C Flood, C McLaughlin, S Gallen; J Donnelly (0-2f), J Boyle, A McDermott (Capt.); P Sheridan, R McDermott; K Campbell, E Organ (0-1), M McGee; L Henderson (1-1), E McDermott, N Campbell (0-7, 6f).

Subs: S Gillespie for McGee (55).


Referee: J Clarke (Cavan).



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