Dublin and Monaghan put on yet another show in what horrendous conditions in Croke Park were last night.
It took 48 seconds for the first score of the game to come and it was a goal from Monaghan, Conor McManus putting the ball past Dublin stopper Evan Comeford.
Monaghan begun to take control, inside the first 15mins they led of a score line of 1-5 to 0-1. For the first half Dublin had to face what was a very strong wind and showers along with that.
It took 22 mins for Dublin to find their second score of the game when Dan O’Brien slotted it over the bar, a man who will look to break into Dessie Farrell’s starting 15 this year.
It did not look too good for Paddy Andrews as he came off injured prior to Dublin’s second score of the game.
With 8 minutes left of the first half, Monaghan keeper Rory Beggan slotted over a 45’ to give his side an 8 point lead. Beggan had a very impressive performance being very reliable from kickouts and his 45’s.
1-9 to 0-3 was the score line going into the break although if Monaghan were a tad more clinical it could have been a lot more. Both sides had a feeling as though it was not over yet beside the fact Dublin were down by 9 points at the break as the weather had played a huge part in this although Dublin’s defence were less than impressive as Monaghan had made it look easy getting in every time and finding space to put the ball over on most occasions.
With Hill 16 far from settled they were even more adjugated before a ball was even thrown for the second half when referee Ciaran Branagan showed both Kieran Duffy of Monaghan and Paul Mannion of Dublin yellow cards.
Dublin showed positive signs inside the first 10 minutes of the second half when they had already doubled their score from the first half with points from Ciaran Kilkenny and Dean Rock (2) seen their side down by 6.
20 minutes to go and the game began to be end-to-end with Conor McManus keeping the scoreboard ticking for Monaghan and led 1-11 to 0-8.
Last night showed Monaghan execute the mark very impressively as it led to a few scores and frustrated the Dubs.
After Dublin’s second half surge it seemed as though Monaghan were getting their grasp on the game again when 6 minutes later, yet another score from McManus meant Dublin trailed by 8 points again.
With 10 minutes to go, Rory Beggan had put another free over the bar and Monaghan led 1-14 to 0-8. It was hard to fault this man’s performance as he did little wrong much to Dublin’s frustration.
Only minutes to go on the clock and many Dublin fans decided that they have had enough not just due to their sides huge deficit put the weather had also played its part with it not letting off during any part of the game.
Heading into stoppage time and who else but Kevin McManamon gave Dublin the very much needed goal to get back into this game and it was now 1-15 to 1-12 with 6 minutes being added on.
Monaghan did try their best to slow down the game as any side would when on the brink of beating the All-Ireland champions, but Dublin did not let up and with 71 minutes on the clock Sean Bulger put it over the bar to reduce McEnaney’s men’s lead to 2 points.
Play was stopped for huge parts of stoppage time which led to time being added on to the initial 6 minutes, especially when Dublin’s Eoin Murchan and Monaghan’s Shane Carey were both shown yellow cards.
Bulger then added to his tally when he picked up from a Beggan kickout mistake and somehow this was a 1-point game.
With Croke Park becoming electric yet again and like the Kerry game 2 weeks ago the fact this was a league match was muchly forgotten as you could tell by the noise when Dublin left corner-back Davy Byrne put it over to miraculously earn his side a well fought draw.
The final whistle had sounded and most fans from Hill 16 including myself had rushed out to get home and hosed after a drenching that was received last night. Although the conditions were the worst I had seen for a while it did lead to a spectacle which left no neutral fans disappointed.
In the other games in Division 1 this weekend, Tyrone host Kerry, Galway travel to Donegal and Meath clash with Mayo all throwing in at 2pm.
Next up for the Farney Army is a huge clash with Mayo in 2 weeks (23rd of February) in St. Tiernach’s Park, throw-in at 2pm.
Meanwhile for Dublin they will be back in Croke Park on Saturday, the 22nd of February hosting Donegal at 7pm.