After months of huge upsets, dramatic penalty shootouts and battles for the ages the Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Championship has been whittled down to just two counties, Derry and Monaghan. However, nobody's journey has been as remarkable as the Monaghan minors, who have defied the odds and beaten two provincial champions as underdogs to reach the final.
This Sunday will only be Monaghan's second ever All-Ireland Minor Football final, having lost to Roscommon 1-9 to 1-7 in the 1939 minor football final. This Sunday, 83 years on Monaghan will get their chance to right that wrong and bring the county's ever-minor football All-Ireland home, despite being underdogs from the outset.
Monaghan's remarkable minor All-Ireland journey.
No team has had a tough as route to Sunday's All-Ireland minor final as this Monaghan team, who have had to defy the odds every weekend to get to this stage.
Having only scraped through their Ulster semi-final against old-foes Tyrone on penalties and having previously being hammered by Derry, this side were written off by many. However, when it counted they were on fire, despite being heavy underdogs they forced Derry all the way to penalties in their Ulster Final loss.
The future of Monaghan goalkeeping is in good hands. Great saves from both keepers in this game and enjoyed this one from Jamie Mooney. 👏 pic.twitter.com/VcRX8t8hAP
— GAA Keeper Coaching - Dr. Donal Hughes (@GAAKeeperCoach) May 28, 2023
Since then, Monaghan have proved exactly why they're in the All-Ireland Minor final, overcoming two provincial champions to reach the pinnacle. Having scraped their way out the Ulster Championship, Monaghan were left with a mountain to climb to get to the All-Ireland final, and climb that mountain they did.
Monaghan hammered the Connacht Champions Mayo by eight points in the quarter-final, before giving All-Ireland favourites and Munster Champions Kerry the battle of their lives to knock them out by just three points with a goal proving to be the crucial difference.
Should Monaghan win this Sunday, they'll have beaten three of the four provincial champions to win the minor football All-Ireland final. Their remarkable journey sums up the spirit of football currently on offer in Monaghan, as the senior side continues to defy the odds and dispose of sides in the senior competition.