O'Rourke happy to get over line but knows Monaghan must improve
Monaghan 0-19 Laois 1-11
Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke knows his team will need much more complete performances in the coming weeks after his team booked their place in the new Super 8 series with a five-point win over Laois in Navan yesterday.
O'Rourke acknowledged that Monaghan had dropped off in the second half: "We were very pleased with the first half, we showed a lot of energy and we used the ball well. In the second half, we got sloppy and Laois came back at us, but we're delighted to get over the line and into the Super 8s."
Monaghan got off to a flying start that saw them take a 0-7 to 0-1 lead by the 15-minute mark, with Fintan Kelly, Conor McManus (0-2), Rory Beggan, Shane Carey, Karl O'Connell and Niall Kearns all on target.
Frees by Evan O'Carroll and Ross Munnelly were all Laois had to show for their opening quarter, while they were grateful to Brody for making saves to deny Kelly and McAnespie.
A brace by Carey and further points from McManus, Jack McCarron, O'Connell and Beggan kept Monaghan in command, but a goal against the run of play by Paul Kingston gave Laois a much-needed boost in the 35th minute. A fourth point of the half from McManus had Monaghan ahead by double-scores (0-14 to 1-4) at the interval.
Monaghan were nowhere near as clinical in the second half and although McManus extended their lead, points from O'Carroll and Munnelly gave Laois some hope. McCarthy, McAnespie and sub Paudie McKenna kept the scoreboard ticking over for Monaghan.
Munnelly, Donie Kingston and Colm Begley cut the Laois deficit to four late on, but a second McAnespie point in added time saw Monaghan secure their third straight win.
Scorers: Monaghan: C McManus 0-5 (2f); S Carey 0-3; R Beggan (1f, 1 '45), K O'Connell, R McAnespie 0-2 each; F Kelly, J McCarron, C McCarthy, P McKenna, N Kearns 0-1 each.
Laois: E O'Carroll 0-5 (2f); R Munnelly 0-3f; P Kingston 1-0; D Kingston 0-2 (1f); C Begley 0-1.