Allianz National Football League Division One
Monaghan v Roscommon, Sunday, 2.00, Inniskeen
Monaghan host Roscommon in round five of the Allianz NFL on Sunday.
Wins over Mayo and Kerry, either side of a draw with Cavan, got Monaghan off to a flying start, but their unbeaten run came to an end away to Tyrone last time out. Meanwhile, Roscommon (who reached the Division One semi-finals last year in their first campaign after promotion) have fallen to four straight defeats against Tyrone, Donegal, Mayo and Kerry. Monaghan had a hard-earned four-point win when these teams met in Kiltoom in the opening round of the 2016 league.
Both teams are set to have three changes from a fortnight ago. Malachy O’Rourke has named a Monaghan starting team with Darren Hughes, Shane Carey and first-time NFL starter Dessie Ward taking the places of Owen Coyle, Thomas Kerr and the suspended Dermot Malone. There is no place for injured captain Colin Walshe, although Vincent Corey returns to a list of substitutes that also features two players yet to make their league debuts in Brian Greenan and Micheál Bannigan. The Roscommon team named by Kevin McStay has Thomas Featherston, Gary Patterson and Tom Corcoran in for Shane Killoran, Ronan Stack and the suspended John McManus, with Ultan Harney and Cathal Compton boosting their options on the bench.
Monaghan: Rory Beggan; Fintan Kelly, Drew Wylie (Capt.), Ryan Wylie; Ryan McAnespie, Neil McAdam, Karl O’Connell; Darren Hughes, Kieran Hughes; Dessie Ward, Shane Carey, Gavin Doogan; Kieran Duffy, Jack McCarron, Conor McManus.
Subs: Conor Forde, Owen Coyle, Karl McQuaid, Vincent Corey, James Mealiff, Brian Greenan, Thomas Kerr, Owen Duffy, Conor McCarthy, Stephen Gollogly, Micheál Bannigan.
Roscommon: Darren O’Malley; Seán McDermott, Thomas Featherston, Niall McInerney; Gary Patterson, Seán Mullooly, David Murray; Tom Corcoran, Tadhg O’Rourke; Fintan Cregg, Conor Devaney, Enda Smith; Ciaráin Murtagh (Capt.), Dónie Smith, Cian Connolly.
Subs: Colm Lavin, Paddy Brogan, Ciarán Cafferkey, Cathal Compton, Ultan Harney, Shane Killoran, Niall Kilroy, Fergal Lennon, Brian Murtagh, Diarmuid Murtagh, Ronan Stack.
Danske Bank Ulster Schools Football MacLarnon Cup Final
Our Lady’s Secondary School, Castleblayney v St. Ciarán’s College, Ballygawley, Friday, 10.45am, Armagh
Our Lady’s Secondary School, Castleblayney contest the MacLarnon Cup Final against first-time finalists St. Ciarán’s College, Ballygawley at the Athletic Grounds on St. Patrick’s Day.
Our Lady’s won this title in 2015, defeating fellow Monaghan side Patrician High School, Carrickmacross, who came back to win it last year. Our Lady’s edged out St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny at the quarter-final stage, before holding off a comeback from Saint Pius X College, Magherafelt in their semi-final. St. Ciarán’s pipped Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock in the last eight. The 2015 Rafferty Cup winners then had three points to spare over St. Louis Grammar School, Ballymena last time out.
Our Lady’s will be looking for big performances from their two Ulster Schools All-Stars: James Wilson and Frank Connolly, as well as the likes of Aaron Courtney, Tommy Geehan, Tiernan and Kieran Duffy, Callum Blanche and Hugh McGinn. Daragh Canavan, Caoimhín O’Donnell, Pascal Donaghy, Cormac Donnelly, Tomás Hoy and Conor and Cathair Quinn are key players for St. Ciarán’s.
Lidl Ladies National Football League Division One
Monaghan v Cork, Saturday, 3.00, Clones
The Lidl Ladies National Football League resumes on Sunday when Monaghan host All-Ireland champions Cork in Clones.
Monaghan’s only win so far came in dramatic fashion against Mayo, while they have lost to Dublin, Galway and Kerry. Cork, who pipped Monaghan at the All-Ireland semi-final stage last year, are joint-top of the table, have beaten Kerry, Mayo and Dublin, while losing to Armagh.
Monaghan will hope to be able to call on the likes of Ciara and Aoife McAnespie, Caoimhe Mohan, Sharon and Cora Courtney, Gráinne McNally, Laura McEnaney and Cathriona McConnell to lead their challenge. Eimear Scally, Ciara and Doireann O’Sullivan, Niamh Cotter and Orla Finn should be prominent for Cork.
Meanwhile, Monaghan’s minor and Under-17 footballers start their Ulster league campaigns against Down on Saturday at the Queen’s University, Belfast playing grounds (the Dub). Please note change of venue. For the minors, it’s a first game under the guidance of the new management team headed by Paul Curran and while their Our Lady’s, Castleblayney contingent are set to be unavailable after Friday’s MacLarnon Cup Final, they will hope to get off to a positive start.
There are a few Platinum Tanks Reserve Football League games down for decision this Saturday: Monaghan Harps v Rockcorry in Division 2B and Clontibret v Inniskeen and Truagh v Oram in Division Three. The rescheduled first-round Division 1B clash of Magheracloone and Blackhill takes place on Sunday.
The 2017 Gerry’s Prepared Veg. Under-12 Football Spring Leagues begin this Saturday, with 19 games across the nine ‘zones’ down for decision.