Preview by Colm Shalvey
Under-21 Shamrock Cup
Monaghan v Tyrone, Saturday, Cremartin
Monaghan play their final Shamrock Cup group game against Tyrone on Saturday. Eamon McEneaney’s Monaghan team already have two wins to their name after they beat Down and Fermanagh, while Tyrone beat Fermanagh before losing to Down. Senior county players Colin Walshe, Kieran Duffy, Christopher McGuinness and Dermot Malone are eligible for Monaghan, although Kieran Hughes is a long-term absentee as he recovers from a knee injury. Tyrone should be able to call on several of their 2008 All-Ireland-winning minor team, including Kyle Coney, Peter Harte, Niall McKenna, Mattie Donnelly and Paddy McNiece.
Allianz National Hurling League Division 3B
Fingal v Monaghan, Sunday, 2.30, Swords
Monaghan’s hurlers begin their NHL Division 3B campaign away to Fingal on Sunday.
Monaghan finally secured promotion from the league’s basement last year when they won the Division Four title for the second time in three years. The north-Dublin team, who have been competing since 2008, finished fourth in this division last year with six points from six games. The sides have met once previously in the 2009 Nicky Rackard Cup when Fingal edged through after extra-time.
Monaghan will be looking for big performances from the likes of Mickey McHugh, Trevor Hilliard, Séamus Loftus, Michael Lennon, Ronan Meegan and Seán Leonard, while Emmet McCabe, Colm Foley, Martin Ormonde and Dermot Vaughan are among the main men for Fingal.
Sunday’s game will be a tall order for Monaghan and it should give a good indicator of how Frank Brady’s men will fare against higher-quality opposition in 2011.
Bord Gáis Ladies National Football League Division One
Mayo v Monaghan, Sunday, 2.30, Claremorris
Monaghan’s ladies footballers will be hoping to continue their good start to the season when they travel to Mayo on Sunday.
Monaghan won the pre-season Dowd Cup, beating UUJ in the final, and they started their NFL campaign with a comfortable win over Tyrone last Sunday. Mayo were due to have opened their campaign against Cork, but that game was postponed. Monaghan won the Ulster championship last year before losing to Laois in the All-Ireland quarter-finals. Meanwhile, Mayo ladies football was left in turmoil after player unrest saw the county team withdrawn from the championship. They were eventually reinstated, but they made an early exit, losing to Kerry.
Cathriona McConnell, Ciara and Aoife McAnespie, Amanda Casey, Sharon Courtney and Therese McNally will be expected to lead the way for Monaghan, while Mayo will be looking for Cora Staunton, Emma Mullin and Fiona McHale to lead the way.
In the Ulster Club Intermediate Football League, both Monaghan representatives have home games this weekend. Seán McDermotts play Buncrana (Donegal) in Group C on Saturday, while Rockcorry take on Down side Dundrum in Group D on Sunday.