All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifiers Round 1
Monaghan v Fermanagh, Sunday, 1.45, Clones
Monaghan bid to launch their All-Ireland SFC campaign in Sunday’s Qualifier derby against Fermanagh.
Monaghan lost to Cavan in the Ulster quarter-finals, while Fermanagh also dropped into the qualifiers despite giving Donegal a scare for long spells of their clash. These sides, of course, met last summer in an Ulster semi-final, where a late goal handed Fermanagh a one-point win.
Monaghan had earlier stayed up in Division One of the Allianz NFL despite a challenging campaign. Fermanagh’s impressive defensive record helped them contend for promotion from Division Two of the Allianz NFL until they lost to Meath in the last round. Their third-place finish in the second tier made them the highest-ranked team Monaghan could have drawn in this round.
Monaghan will need big performances from the likes of Conor McManus, Colin Walshe, Ryan Wylie, Rory Beggan and Fintan Kelly. Eoin Donnelly, Seán Quigley, Cónall and Ryan Jones, Declan McCusker and Che Cullen should play central roles for Fermanagh.
Nicky Rackard Cup Relegation Play-Off
Monaghan v Louth, Saturday, 3.00, Crossmaglen
Monaghan will bid to maintain their Nicky Rackard Cup status in Saturday’s relegation play-off derby against Louth.
Monaghan have been ever-present in this competition, with this being their first time consigned to the play-off since 2014. Trevor Hilliard’s side let winning positions slip away when losing Armagh and Longford and they were on the brink of beating Warwickshire last week, only to have to settle for a draw after conceding a late goal. 2016 Lory Meagher winners Louth are in this fixture for the second year in a row, having beaten Leitrim 12 months ago to stay in the competition.
Teenager Darren Geoghegan has been a leading light for Louth, who will also need big contributions from Seaghán Connelly, David Kettle and Gerry McKeown. Monaghan will need Fergal Rafter, Mark and Peter Treanor and Taidhg Campbell at their best.
TG4 Ulster Ladies Senior Football Championship Semi-Final
Armagh v Monaghan, Sunday, 7.00, Athletic Grounds
Monaghan ladies will hope to put a challenging league campaign behind them when they face Armagh in Sunday’s Ulster semi-final at the Athletic Grounds.
Monaghan were relegated from Division One of the league, while Armagh almost went in the opposite direction as they won six of their seven group games in Division Two, only to fall short in a semi-final against Kerry. These sides met in the championship last year, when their group-stage derby finished all square.
Monaghan will need big performances from players such as Cora and Rosemary Courtney, Aoife, Ciara and Eimear McAnespie and Muireann Atkinson if they are to go a step further in Ulster than last summer. Armagh should be led by the likes of Aoife McCoy, Niamh Reel and Kelly Mallon and they are boosted by returns for Bláithín Mackin, Caroline O’Hanlon and captain Caoimhe Morgan.
Armagh: Caroline O’Hare; Sarah Marley, Caoimhe Morgan, Rebecca O’Reilly; Colleen McKenna, Clódagh McCambridge, Tiarna Grimes; Niamh Coleman, Caroline O’Hanlon; Méabh Moriarty, Aoife McCoy, Kelly Mallon; Aveen Donaldson, Bláithín Mackin, Niamh Reel.
Monaghan: B Tierney; Niamh Kerr, Sarah Boyd, Casey Treanor; Aoife McAnespie, Hannah McSkane, Shauna Coyle; Abbie McCarey, Eimear McAnespie; Rosemary Courtney, Cora Courtney (Capt.), Chloe McBride; Eva Woods, Muireann Atkinson, Ciara McAnespie.