It’s a busy time for the county teams, with Monaghan’s senior and minor footballers and senior hurlers facing vital games this weekend.
Nicky Rackard Cup Group 1 Round 2
Warwickshire v Monaghan, Saturday, 2.00, Páirc na hÉireann, Birmingham
Monaghan will look to build on a winning start to their Nicky Rackard Cup campaign when they face Warwickshire in Birmingham on Saturday.
Warwickshire had too much firepower for Louth in the first round, while Trevor Hilliard’s Monaghan side ran out convincing winners over Longford. Monaghan have already travelled to Saturday’s venue this year, when they were edged out by Warwickshire, who went on to add the Allianz NHL Division 3A title to last year’s Lory Meagher Cup success.
Warwickshire pose threats via the likes of Niall McKenna, Dómhnall Nugent, Paul Hoban, Paul Uniacke and Shane Caulfield, while Monaghan will need Mark and Peter Treanor, Éamonn Collins and Fergal Rafter at their best.
Electric Ireland Ulster Minor Football Championship Qualifier Round 3
Monaghan v Down, Sunday, 2.00, Omagh
Monaghan will hope to qualify for the Ulster MFC semi-finals in Sunday’s curtain-raiser at Healy Park against Down.
Ulster MFL winners, Monaghan were pipped by Derry after extra-time in a championship preliminary-round tie, but they have got back on track via wins over Antrim and Donegal. Down beat Armagh after extra-time, before losing out to Tyrone.
Brendan Óg Ó Dufaigh, Andrew Moore, Seán Jones and Jordan McGarrell could play key roles for Monaghan, who welcome Aaron Mulligan back from suspension. Down have a star forward in Sheelan Johnston, with Justin Clarke, Ryan Connolly and Tom Close other potentially key players.
Ulster Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final
Tyrone v Monaghan, Sunday, 4.00, Omagh
Monaghan start their Ulster SFC campaign with a quarter-final tie away to Tyrone on Sunday.
Both these teams finished the Allianz NFL Division One in fine form, with Monaghan ending up third after defeating Dublin in the final round, while Tyrone won their last three games to claim fourth place. Tyrone have won the last two Ulster titles, producing some dominant performances in the 2017 provincial series, while Monaghan won two of the previous three Anglo-Celt Cups in 2013 and 2015.
Tyrone have been boosted by the inclusion of Tiernan McCann, 2017 All-Star Colm Cavanagh and top scorer Lee Brennan after injury concerns, while Frank Burns, Peter Harte, Niall Sludden and Mattie Donnelly are other key players for Mickey Harte’s side. Malachy O’Rourke has named SFC debutant Niall Kearns at midfield for Monaghan, who will be looking for big performances from Conor McManus, Colin Walshe, Fintan Kelly, Karl O’Connell and the Wylie and Hughes brothers.
The Monaghan team named for Sunday shows five changes from the starting XV that beat Dublin, with Colin Walshe, Kieran Duffy Fintan Kelly, Jack McCarron and Dessie Ward replacing Conor Boyle, Dessie Mone, Paudie McKenna, Owen Duffy and Ryan McAnespie. The list of substitutes includes senior championship rookies Barry Kerr and David Garland.
Tyrone: Niall Morgan; Pádraig Hampsey, Ronan McNamee, Cathal McCarron; Tiernan McCann, Frank Burns, Peter Harte; Colm Cavanagh, Mattie Donnelly (Capt.); Cathal McShane, Niall Sludden, Conor Meyler; Lee Brennan, Connor McAliskey, Mark Bradley.
Subs: Michael O’Neill, Rory Brennan, Richard Donnelly, Cónall McCann, Declan McClure, Aidan McCrory, Hugh Pat McGeary, Kieran McGeary, Michael McKernan, Pádraig McNulty, Ronan O’Neill.
Monaghan: Rory Beggan; Colin Walshe (Capt.), Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie; Kieran Duffy, Vincent Corey, Karl O’Connell; Niall Kearns, Darren Hughes; Fintan Kelly, Jack McCarron, Dessie Ward; Conor McCarthy, Kieran Hughes, Conor McManus.
Subs: Conor Forde, Conor Boyle, Barry Kerr, Dessie Mone, Neil McAdam, Paudie McKenna, Dermot Malone, Owen Duffy, Ryan McAnespie, David Garland, Shane Carey.