Analysis: Poor refereeing, Beggan’s kickouts, Tyrone’s savage work-rate and how they can conquer Dublin

WHEN MALACHY O’ROURKE sits down over the coming days to watch yesterday’s game, I expect he will be sick to his core with the regret of how his team lost it.

Bad decision making and poor refereeing both contributed to their demise. On the other side, Mickey Harte has once again brought his side to the summit of Gaelic football.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The kickout battle

Rory Beggan has received a lot of criticism over the last 24 hours for his decision making in Monaghan’s last play of the game. While he did make a mistake, he had another fine day on his restarts.

The Scotstown retained 92% of his own kickouts. These kicks became a springboard for Monaghan’s attacks in the second half, with many of the kicks being targeted past midfield and hitting the oncoming runners in the Monaghan half forward line.

It was one of the key reasons that Monaghan were continuing to grow as the game went on. Rory Beggan also played as a fly keeper as the game went on, how long will it be before he scores from play I wonder?

Monaghan, on the other hand, tried to get a press on Niall Morgan’s kickouts, they were unsuccessful at times. But late on they did rattle the Tyrone man and won two kickouts in 69th and 70th minute as the game was in the melting pot. Morgan is going to have to contend with Dublin having a full press on their kickouts.

I think he could struggle on this. He will not get the short options that he got yesterday. Tyrone also have a decision on what they do with Stephen Cluxton’s kickouts. Will they try to press up on them or allow him to go short?

They had reasonable luck in their Super 8s game with Dublin earlier in the summer. I feel that they have to do the same again and press as much as they can, because when they sat off last year it did not work.


Tyrone finished this game with a lower amount of kickouts won than Monaghan, they also finished with a worse shooting efficiency than Malachy O Rourke’s men – two of the fundamentals of the game.

Tyrone did win one area of this game without question – the tackle count. They notched up a total of 52 tackles compared to Monaghan’s 39. While we saw Monaghan outwork Galway last week in the Super 8s, they were second best on this all day yesterday.

Tyrone have changed from last year and are now setting their tackle engagement line higher up the pitch with their forwards working tirelessly to get a hand on the opposition and slow them down.

Personally, I think they are the best team to manage to get a double up on the opposition when tackling. They physically wear teams down. Tyrone play a risky game at times with up to three guys tackling at stages. If they are not successful in turning Dublin over, it could provide more space for them.

Tyrone will be able to match Dublin in terms of physicality and in the number of tackles they put in, but for me they will have to work harder than they ever did before to conquer Jim Gavin’s men. I’d feel they will have to go man-to-man more so than usual and transition the sweeper even more efficiently as the play develops than they are doing currently.

At times yesterday, Colm Cavanagh was in his defence 15-20 seconds before Monaghan passed the midfield point, they will not be able to do this against Dublin as this will only allow Dublin to get their point of attack set up properly and drive at them in numbers. Tyrone will have to be willing to adapt to this if they are to stand any chance.

Serious Tyrone Defence deny Monaghan a score!

— The GAA (@officialgaa) August 12, 2018

Shooting woes and decision making

Yesterday’s game for long periods looked that it was going to be settled by who would hit less wides. Both teams finished with poor shooting efficiencies Tyrone with 47% and Monaghan with 52%.

To put this into context, Dublin finished the other semi-final with a shooting efficiency of 80%. The two teams finished with 10 wides apiece. Both teams found it hard to break each other down and were continuously getting frustrated and took on shots that were outside of the scoring range.

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Mickey Harte will have to be very frustrated by his side kicking six balls into Rory Beggan’s hands.

Malachy O’Rourke will rue the decision making of his team late on in the game, their decision making was poor. Rory Beggan’s last kick, poor hand passing and trying to force passes that just weren’t on in a time when they needed to be calm and composed.

Tyrone’s discipline and poor refereeing

One area that Tyrone have to improve is the amount of scorable frees that they gave away. Monaghan had a total of nine free kicks converting seven of those. There is no way they can allow Dublin anywhere near this number or again they will be punished.

Malachy O Rourke questioned the amount of time added on at the end of yesterday’s game and rightfully so, for each of the substitutions the referee is to allow 20 seconds, yesterday there were nine second half subs, there is no doubt that there was more stoppages than just the subs.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Like the Monaghan camp, Anthony Nolan will not look back at his performance with much joy. To put it bluntly, he ruined this game by his inconsistency. The Wicklow man made the Monaghan teamwork a lot harder for their frees than their counterparts. Colm Cavanagh’s free at the end of the game was extremely soft but these were the calls Tyrone seemed to benefit from throughout.

The GAA chiefs have to address the issue of poor refereeing, this summer again there have been too many issues. Inter-county teams are now training similarly to professional outfits, it is time that our referees got to the standard required.

Everybody makes mistakes from players to managers, but what is the most aggravating part of referees is the different styles of each.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO


This was an enthralling game from start to finish. Monaghan will look back at this and probably wonder will they ever get a better chance to contest an All-Ireland final.

They do however need to recognise the progress they made in 2018, they got over their Croke Park hoodoo with a win over Kildare and reached their first semi-final since 1988. This Monaghan team is out but they are definitely not finished. I would back them come back stronger in 2019.

For Mickey Harte and Tyrone, it’s time to face the four in a row chasing Dublin team. Personally, I think they will have to play out of their skin to challenge Jim Gavin’s men and hope Dublin have an off day.

They are coming up against possibly the greatest team of all time but where else would they be on the first Sunday in September?

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