NFL Division One: Farney Army still in raptures after day to cherish in Tralee
THE travelling wing of Monaghan's famously vocal 'Farney Army' gave their football heroes a standing ovation off Austin Stack Park yesterday and little wonder why.
A 1-11 to 0-10 victory had just secured their place in Division One again next year and kept them in the running for the semi-finals but it was the fact that they had just beaten All-Ireland champions, in Tralee, that had them really puffing out their chests.
Beating Kerry in a competitive match for the first time in 27 years - the last time was a league game in Clones in 1988 - was a massive boost to Monaghan's confidence and not even manager Malachy O'Rourke could hide his delight.
"To come down here and beat fellas that have All-Ireland medals in their back pockets, that is very good for morale," he grinned.
He could take plenty of credit for it too with some clever tactics and a complete positional re-shuffle when they took wind advantage in the second half but it was Owen Duffy's 48th minute goal that set them on their way.
For the third consecutive season Kerry now find themselves going into their final group game (away to Tyrone) battling to avoid relegation.
A semi-final spot is also, mathematically, still not out of the question but relegation is a far bigger worry and they had only themselves to blame for having to shoulder such pressure now.
"We had 14 wides, we just didn't do enough to deserve a win and Monaghan deserved it," manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice said. "We're heading up to Omagh again next weekend for a tough battle now."
Mickey Harte was left to ponder what he described as one of the worst performances he's witnessed by a Tyrone team in Ballybofey yesterday.
Donegal had ten points to spare (1-13 to 0-6) on the Red Hands in a one-sided game with Ryan McHugh's goal and some peerless free taking by Michael Murphy ensuring that Rory Gallagher's team survive in the top flight.
Harte, now in his 13th campaign as Tyrone boss, pulled no punches as he assessed the damage, seven weeks out from the Ulster Championship clash between the two counties.
"It is a very very disappointing performance and I said to the players afterwards it was as bad a performance as I've been involved in with the Tyrone team over all the time that I've been involved - at any level and at any age," Harte said.
"That's where we're at at the moment so that's the baseline where we're starting from for next week and seven weeks time.
"We didn't believe we were coming here to get a whipping like that."
A last-gasp goal from Brian Hurley gave Cork a 2-7 to 0-12 win over Mayo at Páirc Uí Rinn in a game in which the Rebels were far from their best.
Mayo had Michael Conroy black carded for foul play in the second half, but that didn't seem to affect them as they led going into stoppage time until Conor Dorman ran into the Mayo square and passed the ball to Hurley who punched into the net to break Mayo hearts.
NFL DIVision 1 FOCUS