Monaghan 41-7 Letterkenny
By Tony McBride
Monaghan prove too strong for Letterkenny at Rafeenan
Letterkenny travelled to Monaghan on Saturday having made a few changes to the starting XV.
In the pack, James Sweeney made his long awaited return to play after overcoming an ankle injury while Kevin Callaghan made his second start for the first XV after impressing the week before. In the backs, Tony McBride took hold of the out half jersey which made way for the reintroduction of Darragh Turley at fullback.
Monaghan having lost to Newry the week previous, were first out of the blocks when their right wing crossed for the opening score of the game. A lovely loop play from their 10 created the space for the wing to test the Letterkenny defence.
Monaghan added two penalty kicks on to the score count before crossing for their second try of the day after repeated infringements by Letterkenny. With the game only twenty minutes old, it already looked out of sight at 20-0.
Letterkenny did get some territory thereafter and the door opened ever so slightly as they tried to gain a foothold in the game. But good discipline from Monaghan and a solid defence kept the Letterkenny men at bay.
Monaghan tagged on another try before the break to leave the score 27-0 at half time.
After the break, Chris Peterson made way for the introduction of Seanie Henry. John Anthony McFadden moved in to centre and Letterkenny started the second half with a bit more panach.
However their indiscipline is something which they failed to address before long, Captain Dave Brown was sent to the sin bin for his team having accrued too many penalties. While he was in the sin bin, Monaghan took advantage again and crossed for another fantastic try this time coming through the work of their loose head prop who carried aggressively all day.
With 25 minutes to go, McBride took a heavy knock and had to head for the sideline while McFadden had to go off shortly after. Both picked up nasty knee injuries and look set to be sidelined for some time.
When Dave Brown returned to play Letterkenny got their only score of the day through the scrum. This was one facet of play that Letterkenny could say they dominated today and indeed thus far this season they have scrummaged well.
But it was to be Monaghans day and nobody else's as they were simply too strong and organised for this Letterkenny team.
Final score: Monaghan 41-7 Letterkenny