Monaghan 1-21 Galway 2-17
Jack McCarron has pulled hamstrings, done knees and dislocated shoulders in a run of bad luck that sidelined him for the guts of four years, but the gift he has is something that not even injuries could hold down.
It’s something that you never lose. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to watch the Currin club-man on one of his good days, you’ll have come away saying that there isn’t a place this man couldn’t take Monaghan. It’s with those easy dummies, the graceful shooting and the elusive movement that he terrifies the life out of opposition players and supporters alike, and it’s when he’s in that flow and groove, when he looks like he’s one of the best forwards in the country.
Monaghan were slow out of the blocks in this relegation decider against Galway in Clones and how they forced extra-time was a mystery that could only be solved by McCarron and his gold-carat brilliance. Only introduced as a sub, after an injury to Andrew Woods ten minutes in, the 29-year-old made the impact of a man that should have been starting, and will surely be starting the next day.
Among his seven stunning scores was an early sideline which kept Seamus McEnaney’s team in touch, even as Robert Finnerty shot the lights out down the other end for Galway. But while Finnerty and Paul Kelly were doing the damage for the Tribe, it was a quiet afternoon for Shane Walsh which ended with him being substituted on 68 minutes, as Galway led by four, only to be summoned from the bench a couple of minutes later after Conor McManus had forced extra-time with a clutch and trademark score at the death.
It wasn’t Walsh’s best afternoon at the office but you’d wonder if Joyce regrets some of his substitution calls, as among the 13 he made on the day, young Tomo Culhane was brought on only to be brought off and then brought back on again. Kieran Molloy and Robert Finnerty were also re-introduced to the action as extra-time rolled on.
But there’s no denying the fact that this day belonged to Jack McCarron, who after selling one of those trademark dummies, scored a point that had him smiling his way off the pitch.
The easy smile on Jack McCarron's face says it all.
He's had some nightmare with injuries in recent times, but that dummy, score and display were all sensational.pic.twitter.com/6auUtamEWC
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) June 13, 2021
Monaghan preserve their Division One status for another year and you could see what it meant to them.
#MONvGAL Scór Deiridh
“It's all about the determination we have & we showed that today” ??
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) June 13, 2021