Monaghan Harps 1-14 Rockcorry 0-6

Plenty of food for thought after bruising in the jungle

Our senior team made their debut in the Drumlin Credit Union senior football league this evening, Saturday 13th April, when they made the short trip to Gavan Duffy Park to take on Monaghan Harps. While the lads played with plenty of spirit and great determination from the first whistle to the last they sadly played second fiddle to a stronger, more experienced Monaghan Harps side who secured a comprehensive victory on a score-line Monaghan Harps 1-14 Rockcorry 0-6. In my younger days, when I had more hair, I was a huge Guns n Roses fan and actually still am! Every-time I got in the car I would crank up the volume and do a bit of head-banging! I haven’t listened to GNR for a long time but as I watched our encounter against Monaghan Harps it brought back memories of one of their greatest classics entitled “Welcome to the Jungle” only this time Gavan Duffy Park was the Jungle and the Monaghan Harps players were the possessed animals hunting in packs! The higher intensity levels, work-rate and their superior energy ensured that they were always in control and cruised to a comfortable win.

Monaghan Harps started the brightest and were full of running during the opening exchanges and they soon found their rhythm as we were finding it very difficult to deal with the pressure in the early stages, and they powered into a  healthy lead, leading 1-4 to 0-0 after twelve minutes on the clock. With the home team leading by seven points things looked ominous but we managed to register our first score on the 15th minute when Mark Daly converted a free-kick and moments later when a Monaghan Harps players was adjudged for over-carrying Fergal McGeough tagged on another point from the free-kick. Our first score from open play finally came on the 20th minute when Noel Carroll outpaced a couple of Monaghan Harps players and when Keith Daly collected the ball he delivered a splendid effort between the uprights to reduce the deficit to four points, 1-4 to 0-3.

We could have and perhaps should have been closer as we created a number of good scoring opportunities on the 22nd, 24th and 26th minutes but unfortunately we were not able to raise the white flag from attempts by Lorcan Smyth, Paul McKeown and Mark Daly. With half time approaching we were guilty of losing possession and Monaghan Harps extended their lead, on the 29th minute, with a neat finish. With the game now in additional time Paul McKeown was fouled and Mark Daly tapped over the free-kick to leave the scoreboard reading Monaghan Harps 1-5 Rockorry 0-4 at the half time stage.

Monaghan Harps started the second half in impressive style and scored a fine point on the 2nd minute and only moments later they stretched their advantage with another neat point to lead by 1-7 to 0-4. During the next three minutes we registered three wides – two free-kicks from the boots of Mark Daly and Lorcan Smyth and an attempt from Martin Carroll also drifted narrowly wide of the target. Monaghan Harps, on the other hand, could do no wrong and our fate was sealed by a brace of five unanswered points during the next ten minutes to create a massive eleven point gap, leading 1-12 to 0-4.

It was now damage limitations as heads were dropping and we lacked confidence in the final pass and despite our valiant efforts we were no match for a hungrier Monaghan Harps side who, it must be said, were very impressive in their overall use of possession and tackling style. On the 19th minute, Martin Carroll was fouled and Mark Daly converted the free-kick but Monaghan Harps gained the upper hand once more and notched over two more points while Lorcan Smyth claimed a crumb of consolation, by scoring a point with nearly the last kick of the game to leave the final score Monaghan Harps 1-14 Rockcorry 0-6.

Reflecting on the game, it’s no easy task to salvage a few positives from the match but I suppose from our perspective this outing was all about the performance, rather than the result. We have to take the positives from the game, more so than the negatives and must realise and understand that we’ve got a good bit of work to do over the coming weeks and months. All players worked hard and cannot be faulted for their efforts but we just couldn’t live with the higher intensity performance. Once they got that far in front they never looked back and we struggled to make any inroads on the gap. In fairness we did not look out of place and created a number good scoring chances and that’s the main thing.

It was highlighted along the side-line that playing at this level is a learning curve and indeed that is very true statement. This game was a real step up in class for our players and there is a long difficult road ahead of us and there should be no illusion what level we need to be at. The bar is set high, after all this is senior football, and we need to step up to the plate and that starts next Wednesday 17th April when we host Doohamlet at Pairc Naomh Mhuire at 7.15pm. We will be looking and hoping for an instant response and we need to carry and up the same energy and drive that served us well last October.  Let’s also hope that Mark McGuirk, Colin Quinn, Fergal McGeough and Noel Carroll who went off carrying injuries can recover in time for this clash.

To view a selection of action photographs from the game please click the link below to visit our Flickr page.

Team & Scorers: Jamie Smith, Conor McGeough, Niall McKeown, Keelan Clerkin, Noel Carroll, Keith Daly 0-1, Stephen Lynch, Mark Daly 0-3f, Damien Matthews, Lorcan Smyth 0-1, Paul McKeown, Martin Carroll, Mark McGuirk, Colin Quinn, Fergal McGeough 0-1f. Subs: Dwayne Rooney for Mark McGuirk (injured) Garry Calvert for Colin Quinn (injured), Johnny Reilly for Fergal McGeough (injured).