Monaghan United 0 – 0 Shamrock Rovers
by Denise McCaffrey
A scoreless draw was the result for a relieved Monaghan United at Gortakeegan as the goalpost became their hero against a frustrated Shamrock Rovers.
It took a while for the teams to get settled in this game with the first real attack coming in the eighth minute when Gary McCabe made a great run into the box for Rovers but Alan Byrne was there for Monaghan as usual to clear the ball from danger.
After 15 minutes Monaghan started to get some good possession in Rovers’ half. On the 16th minute Rovers gifted Monaghan some possession into the path of Jordan Keegan who played a great ball to Bobby Ryan but Shane Dunne on the other wing would have been the better choice as Ryan was offside.
Shamrock Rovers then finished the first half the strongest, despite Monaghan getting the first shot on target in the match in the 25th minute from Keith Quinn, though it was no threat to Jansson.
Rovers’ quality was seen in the 27th minute when McCabe ran through the Monaghan defence, but his run was that good he kept going and ended up at the edge of the box, where a shot wasn’t a wise choice so he flicked it back to Dennehy. The Monaghan defence got to it and it was cleared.
Shortly after this however, Monaghan showed some quality as a dangerous free kick by Rovers was strongly headed out by Alan Byrne to Keith Quinn, his run through midfield ended with a pass to Shane Dunne on the run, but his attempt at a cross fell directly in the path of Jansson.
After that, it was all Rovers with the best of their chances coming in the 37th minute as Gary O’Neill got possession directly in front of goal. The Monaghan defence surrounded him and it was Keith Quinn who threw himself in to block the shot.
The Hoops started to place a bit more pressure on Mons immediately in the second half with good work between Gary O’Neill and Gary McCabe. It led to a shot from McCabe who took it with his first touch and it went wide. Had he took his time, he would have at least had a shot on target.
The second half continued with Rovers dominating possession but for long stretches, not creating any real chances.
However, Stephen Kenny’s decision to introduce Daryl Kavanagh to the game created a good bit of excitement and he was a real threat to Monaghan. His powerful shot forced Paul Whelan to throw himself in the path of the ball to put it out for a corner. The subsequent kick was taken by Killian Brennan, who hit the ball to the near post and Kavanagh got a powerful header to it, nodding high towards the top corner but Chris Bennion’s reflex save matched the effort and kept the game scoreless.
Then Monaghan’s hero was introduced to the game for the first time in the 68th minute when Brennan’s excellent effort from a free kick had Bennion beat and even with the Hoops winger celebrating the ball came powering back off the goalpost.
The post showed its strength again in the 79th minute as Brennan’s free to the back post reached Gary McCabe who struck the ball directly at the upright.
Rovers continued with their domination, giving Monaghan a nervy last 20 minutes but it was Monaghan’s defence who deserve the praise as throughout the match the central pairing of Paul Whelan and Alan Byrne continually did everything to stop a Shamrock Rovers breakthrough.
Monaghan United: Chris Bennion; Paul Whelan, Stephen Maher, Alan Byrne, Shane Dunne (Tony Griffiths 66); Jordan Keegan (Roddy Collins 85), Keith Quinn, William McDonagh, Darragh Reynor; Jason Marks, Bobby Ryan (Owen Humphrey 56).
Subs not used: Conor Murphy, Cillian Corcoran, Leigh Dunne, Micheal Schlingermann.
Yellow Cards: Stephen Maher, Willo McDonagh, Tony Griffiths, Keith Quinn.
Shamrock Rovers: Oscar Jansson; Kerrea Gilbert, Craig Sives, Ken Oman (Graham Gartland 61), Conor Powell; Gary McCabe, Stephen Rice, Killian Brennan, Billy Dennehy (Daryl Kavanagh 59); Gary Twigg, Gary O’Neill (Aaron Greene 75).
Subs not used: Stephen O’Donnell, Conor McCormack, Colin Hawkins, Reyaard Pieterse.
Yellow Cards: Craig Sives.
Referee: Damien Hancock.
Estimated attendance: 950
Man Of The Match: Alan Byrne.
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