The Ulster side fired six goals to run out 16 point winners
Monaghan manager Paula Cunningham cited an unanswered 2-3 at the start of the second half as key to her side’s 16-point victory over Kerry in the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC quarter-finals at Birr on Saturday.
Having scored seven points in a row to lead by 1-10 to 0-9 at half-time – Laura McEneaney with the goal – Monaghan had further green flags from Sharon Courtney and Therese Scott on the resumption. Points by player of the game Ellen McCarron, Ciara McAnespie and Caoimhe Mohan helped to put clear daylight between the teams.
“We said it at half-time that Kerry would throw the kitchen sink at us in the first ten minutes so we’d have to come out of the blocks,” Cunningham said.
“We really, really put in a huge effort and thankfully we got the scores to mark the domination.
“We thought that that wind was worth four or five points to any team, we’d have been happy enough going in a couple of points behind but getting those seven in a row before half-time really helped us too.”
Despite losing influential midfielder Bernie Breen to a red card, Kerry did stage a mini-revival, spearheaded by points from Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh and Denise Hallissey’s goal, to bring the deficit back to eight while Anna Galvin was denied by a Cathriona McKenna save.
Monaghan finished with a flourish though, with further goals from Eimear and Ciara McAnespie and Rosemary Courtney, to Cunningham’s delight ahead of a semi-final with All-Ireland champions Cork.
“There was a wee period there where Kerry came back into it and I was getting a bit edgy on the sideline, we’ll have to have a look at that on the DVD and see what went wrong. The girls responded, they put in a phenomenal amount of work and ran themselves into the ground, they’re wrecked coming off the field and that’s what you want to see.
“We have to build on it now against Cork, unfortunately we don’t have much time. There a few niggly injuries we have to look at to get them cleared up but listen, the hunger and the belief is there and that’s what it’s all about.”
Ní Mhuircheartaigh, Sarah Houihan and Laura Rogers were all among the scores as Kerry made use of the wind in the first half, but McEneaney’s fine goal brought Monaghan level at 1-2 to 0-5.
Though Kerry pushed on again, the Ulster champions then hit a purple patch with seven points in a row, with McCarron, Mohan and Cora Courtney all finding their range. What was a four-point interval advantage became 12 within six minutes of the restart and from there they were never likely to be caught.
Monaghan: E McCarron, C Mohan 0-5 each, C McAnespie 1-3, C Courtney 0-4f, L McEneaney, S Courtney, T Scott, E McAnespie, R Courtney 1-0 each.
Kerry: Ní Mhuircheartaigh 0-6 (0-3f), S Houlihan 0-4 (0-3f), D Hallissey 1-0, L Rogers, L Scanlon, A Galvin 0-2 each.
Monaghan: C McKenna; R McKenna, J Fitzpatrick, L Ward; A McAnespie, S Courtney, G McNally; C Courtney, E McAnespie; L McEneaney, E McCarron, T Scott; C McAnespie, C Mohan, R Courtney.
Subs: N Callan for Ward (37), L Jones for Mohan (51), M Atkinson for L McEneaney (57).
Kerry: E Murphy; A O’Connell, A Desmond, C Murphy; D Hallissey, C Kelly, E Lynch; B Breen, E Sherwood; K O’Sullivan, L Scanlon, J Lynch; S Houlihan, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh, L Rogers.
Subs: A Leonard for E Lynch, A Galvin for J Lynch (36), A Brosnan for Sherwood (49), P Dennehy for Rogers (50), M O’Connell for Houlihan (54).
Referee: J Niland (Sligo).
Words: Denis Hurley