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Monaghan have found way to mark up success, reveals Kelly

 

Top marks: Fintan Kelly had big role in Monaghan win
Top marks: Fintan Kelly had big role in Monaghan win

By John Campbell

The advantages to be gained from the new 'advanced mark' have to date been best highlighted by Monaghan in their Allianz Football League Division One win over Dublin on Sunday.

And when utility player Fintan Kelly discloses that the team have been "working hard" on their kick-passing, his message is certain to be adopted by inter-county bosses in particular as the second most important competition of the season hots up.

Monaghan boss Malachy O'Rourke obviously did his homework well, reaped a very welcome short-term bonus and is now determined to step up his side's kick-passing technique.

The Farney side's willingness to deliver the ball quickly into their forwards, particularly when Conor McManus and Stephen O'Hanlon were introduced, proved a master-stroke as the Dubs wilted in the closing stages.

"We have been working hard on our kick-passing in training because we thought we might be able to benefit from being awarded offensive marks by the referee and this is the way things turned out against Dublin," states Kelly.

"Obviously this encourages us going forward. It does not mean that we are always going to succeed with this tactic, of course.

"The advanced mark is certainly a big bonus for the forwards and there is no doubt that it will also help to speed the game up. I am glad to see the end of the hand-pass rule in particular."

In doubling the amount of marks that Dublin managed to achieve, Monaghan set down a marker for other teams.

The fact that the match was shown live on TG4 not only helped to put this statistic sharply into the public domain but underlined that Dublin's continued adherence to lateral passing can prove self-destructive on occasions.

Meanwhile, Cavan manager Mickey Graham faces a demanding upcoming dual test.

Not only is he fine-tuning Mullinalaghta's preparations for their All-Ireland Senior Club Championship semi-final against Kerry and Munster side Dr Crokes but he is also plotting Cavan's first win in the Allianz League.

The Breffni side were beaten by Galway last Sunday and this weekend face Kerry who will be considerably buoyed by their handsome win over Tyrone.

Cavan, newly-promoted to Division One, are expected to find the going tough and Graham, who played for the county before becoming involved in management, is aware early back-to-back defeats would not augur well for his team's survival in the top bracket.

And while Cavan target a first win, neighbours Fermanagh share the same goal as they prepare for the lengthy trip to Tipperary.

Erne boss Rory Gallagher watched his side hold Cork to a draw last Sunday but knows that a win against Tipperary can help their efforts to secure their status.

"Every game is a step up for us this year. People ask you what your hopes are for the year. The hopes remain the same, you want to stay up and if you're doing alright, you want to get up, that's no different," stresses Gallagher.

Tipperary lost their opening game to Meath and will be particularly keen to maximise their home advantage in a game in which Gallagher may give more game time to Sean Quigley, Daragh McGurn and Ryan Lyons.

Belfast Telegraph

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