Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Joe Kernan: Monaghan men in the mood to challenge monopoly

For the past 10 years Armagh and Tyrone have exerted a stranglehold on the Ulster senior football championship title.

Fermanagh almost created a major shock against Armagh two years ago but overall the big two’s dominance has been fairly pronounced.

Yet I have a feeling that Monaghan may be about to break this monopoly on the Anglo-Celt trophy on Sunday in Clones.

Seamus McEnaney’s side have matured into a fiercely-competitive, physically imposing, ambitious outfit who clearly believe that this is make or break.

They have shown impressive form in overcoming Armagh and Fermanagh, scoring 1-39 in the process. But now they are coming up against a tightly-knit, experienced side.

Monaghan will be fired up for this one for to claim Tyrone’s scalp would be a very significant coup.

Tyrone have won three All Ireland titles, they have a number of players who thrive in the big game atmosphere and they will be anxious to make it back to back Ulster titles.

In Mickey Harte they have one of the best managers of the modern era, a man who sets very high standards for himself and his players.

In overcoming Antrim and Down to date, Tyrone have not had to unduly exert themselves although James McCartan’s side might well have fired a warning shot across their bows in the first 20 minutes of the semi-final.

But after that Tyrone took the game by the scruff of the neck and won comfortably.

I don’t think they will have a comfortable passage on Sunday against Monaghan.

Indeed, I think it might take a replay to determine the outcome of this one.

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