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Monaghan SFC – Scotstown can keep opponents at ‘Bay

Monaghan Senior Football Championship semi-final

BALLYBAY V SCOTSTOWN

(Saturday, Clontibret, 4.30pm)

FOR many Scotstown and Ballybay would have been the expected Monaghan final, but just because they are meeting a round earlier doesn’t make the fixture any less appealing.

Scotstown have been Ballybay’s kryptonite in recent seasons. This game will evoke memories of last year’s final as well as their famous 2017 semi-final clashes.

The champions looked certain to be dethroned as they led by eight points in additional time that time, but Scotstown hit 2-2 to force a replay. Kieran Donnelly’s side took advantage of their second chance to win by three points before going on to defeat Magheracloone in the final.

The victory over Ballybay in the following year’s final made it four titles on the trot for An Bhoth.

Ballybay, now under the guidance of Colin Malone, will be out to make amends for both of those defeats.

They have stumbled, losing to Clontibret in round 2A, but they regained their balance with an impressive 2-16 to 0-12 dismissal of Carrickmacross last weekend.

They started slowly and conceded the first three points but the likes of Thomas Kerr, Paul Finlay and Dessie Ward soon found their range and when Christopher McGuinness found the net shortly before half-time they were looking in good shape.

Six points separated the sides at the break and Patrick O’Neill’s goal midway through the second half killed off any thoughts of a Carrick comeback.

Colm Lennon and Shane McGuinness missed out last week due to injury but Malone has told Gaelic Life that both men will be ready for this clash.

Scotstown have played two games in the championship and they were both very different.

They hit 5-13 in a 10-point win over Doohamlet while they needed penalties to getpast Truagh Gaels in the round 2A.

Peter Canavan is part of Donnelly’s coaching team this year and the fact that they have scored 5-32 in two games – and a bout of extra-time – will be most pleasing to the Tyrone legend.

Donnelly has said that he expects to have a full panel to select from and if he does, they should once again edge out their rivals.

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