Date: 6 p.m. Feb. 13, 2011
Venue: Tallaght Stadium
It was hardly surprising that Shamrock Rovers were first to establish some measure of control in this game. And, despite some ebb and flow in the opening minutes, it was Akeem Priestly who first declared the intentions of the Champions when he broke forward with pace in the third minute.
The Jamaican trialist lashed a shot at the Monaghan goal from all of thirty five yards almost catching out a startled Gabriel Sava.
Monaghan had their moments with Eric Foley shooting wide in the ninth minute and Shane Barrett flinging himself at a superb low cross from John Reilly four minutes later only to see his diving header flash past Ryan Thompson's left hand post.
But it was Rovers who looked more dangerous with Priestly always on the look out for an opportunity and Anto Murphy providing a series of testing crosses from the right flank. One such cross was fractionally too deep for Karl Sheppard in the eighth minute and again, in the nineteenth, the former Galway striker was an inch too short when picked out on the edge of the six yard box.
As the half progressed Monaghan's organisational skills served them well as their five man midfield started to stem the strong running of Stephen Rice and Chris Turner. John Reilly started to cause some problems for Rovers on the right wing and Shane Barrett battled gamely on his own up front.
A late rally by the Hoops might have given them a goal to take into the break but Sava was alert and saved well from Conor McCormack's low shot in the 40th minute, the only genuinely threatening moment from a series of Shamrock Rovers corners.
The second half began with a bang as Dean Kelly launched into a strong challenge with Monaghan's Eric Foley. The Monaghan man was stretchered off and Kelly was shown a straight red card by referee Richie Winter.
The reduction in Rovers' manpower led to something of a stalemate. The Champions continued to weave some pretty patterns through midfield but Philip Byrne and Dave Rogers coped admirably at the heart of the Monaghan defence whenever Rovers ventured further forward.
Similarly at the other end, Dan Murray and Ken Oman were in commanding form at the back for the home side and it wasn't until the 70th minute that the next genuine scoring opportunity was created.
A deep cross from Enda Stevens on Rover's left wing was met by the forehead of Karl Sheppard and his effort looped over Sava and bounced off the Monaghan crossbar to safety.
Akeem Priestly volleyed well wide of Sava's goal five minutes later and three minutes after that Chris Turner took a pass from the Jamaican, surged into space, and unleashed a ferocious low shot that was a matter of inches away from giving Rovers the lead.
As is the fashion a host of substitutions littered the final minutes, denying either side any real sense of momentum. But when Conor McCormack clattered into Philip Byrne and received the home side's second straight red card in the 87th minute any notion of a conclusive end to this game disappeared.
Shamrock Rovers: Ryan Thompson; Conor McCormack, Ken Oman, Dan Murray (Donal Branigan, 89), Enda Stevens (Mick Doyle, 79); Anto Murphy (Jack Memery, 79), Stephen Rice (Colin Corcoran, 86), Chris Turner (Paddy Kavanagh,79), Akeem Priestley; Karl Sheppard, Dean Kelly.
Subs not used: Alan Mannus, Gary McCabe, Billy Dennehy.
Sendings off: Dean Kelly (47), Conor McCormack (87).
Monaghan United: Gabriel Sava (Aaron Shanahan, 76); Shane Grimes, Philip Byrne, Aidan Collins (Paul Whelan, 44), Dave Rogers; Sean Brennan (Andy Haran, 76), Alan Byrne, John Reilly (Lee Kearns, 81), Eric Foley (Jason Marks, 47) Bobby Ryan; Shane Barrett (Darragh McNamara, 68).
Subs not used: Shane Fitzgerald.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Dan Murray.
Referee: Richie Winter (Dublin).
Attendance: 400 (estimate).