1 Eoin O’Donoghue’s display
IN his first National League start, the 21 year-old from Belmullet showed us all why there are such high hopes for him.
O’Donoghue started at corner-back, but was often out the field when Monaghan played a two-man inside line, and he put in a superb shift.
He forced a handful of turnovers that were Colm Boyle-esque in their inspirational value, drove forward at every available opportunity (including kicking a tidy first half point), and looked very much at home.
It was a game that suited his abrasive style and Kerry will present different challenges on Saturday, but it was a very encouraging start.
2 Mayo’s game management
MAYO looked in control when Neil Douglas converted a free after 57 minutes to move the visitors 0-12 to 0-9 clear.
But, as is their wont, Mayo left the door open. We saw it last summer against Derry and Cork and, indeed, in the All-Ireland final against Dublin.
Monaghan were missing their talisman, Conor McManus, but they still found gaps in the opposition defence to kick three points in seven minutes to draw level.
Mayo need to be much harder to break down in these situations. It’s an ongoing concern.
3 St Tiernach’s Park, Clones
IT was a long trip to Clones for Mayo fans, but it’s an alluring venue. Walking through the old market town, through the Square, you can imagine the buzz here on Ulster final day as supporters go up the hill towards the pitch.
St Tiernach’s Park itself is a fine venue. It can take a big crowd but the stand is still nice and compact to make sure that even during a league game, the atmosphere is electric.
The journey is not without its charms too, travelling on roads and through towns you would not ordinarily have occasion to pass. It was a very enjoyable away day.