Ulster Minor Football League Group A
Down v Monaghan, Saturday, 12.00, Newry
Monaghan’s minor footballers play their first competitive game under new manager Colin McAree on Saturday when they travel to Newry’s Páirc Esler to play Down.
Monaghan, under the guidance of McAree, Mattie McGleenan and Ciarán Mulligan, are in Group A of the Ulster MFL, along with Down and Cavan.
Pádraig and Christopher McKenna, Thomas Kerr, Johnny McGuigan, Mel Boyce, Conor Boyle and Pádraic Keenan should be among the main men for Monaghan in the coming season. Darragh O’Hanlon, Oisín Lynch and Ryan Slavin should be to the fore for Down, although they may not have the St. Colman’s, Newry contingent, including Ryan and Jerome Johnston and Caolán Mooney, following their MacRory Cup exertions.
Ulster Minor Hurling League Division Two
Monaghan v Donegal, Saturday, 12.00, Clones
Monaghan’s minor hurlers will be aiming for their second win in a row when they host defending champions Donegal on Saturday.
Brendan Murphy’s side belatedly started their Ulster MHL Division Two campaign with a comfortable victory over Fermanagh, while Donegal fell to a double-scores defeat against Tyrone.
Monaghan will be looking for big performances from Fergal Rafter, Niall Garland, Micheál Ó Mordha, Conor Cahill and Gareth Brennan in the absence of some talented hurlers who will be unavailable due to football commitments. Justin Brown, Christopher McDermott, Conor McCormack and Kevin Meehan should feature for Donegal.
Allianz National Hurling League Division 3B
Monaghan v Roscommon, Sunday, 2.30, Inniskeen
Monaghan face a must-win game against Roscommon in Inniskeen on Sunday if they are to avoid relegation from Division 3B of the NHL.
After winning the Division Four title last year, Monaghan have struggled to adapt to the higher standard in this campaign, with defeats against Fingal, Louth, Donegal and Sligo leaving them stranded at the bottom of the table. Roscommon are fourth with four points from three games. They lost their first game against Mayo, but they have bounced back with wins over Donegal and Sligo.
The sides met in the first round of the Nicky Rackard Cup last year. Monaghan were in contention throughout the first half, but three goals in quick succession either side of the half-time break propelled Roscommon to a slightly flattering 10-point victory.
Monaghan will be looking to Stephen Lambe, Trevor Hilliard, Mickey McHugh, Ronan Meegan and Deaglán Crowe to lead their challenge. McHugh started the campaign in the forward line, but reverted to his old role as goalkeeper for the Donegal and Sligo games, although he came out of goals in Sligo, with Ronan McAteer replacing him between the posts. Roscommon’s key players include the experienced Mervyn Connaughton, David Dolan, Gary and Gerry Fallon and Johnny Coyne.
Bord Gáis Ladies National Football League Division One
Laois v Monaghan, Sunday, 2.00, Portlaoise
Having already qualified for the NFL Division One semi-finals, Monaghan will be attempting to defend their 100% record when they play Laois on Sunday.
Five straight wins over Tyrone, Mayo, Cork, Kildare and Galway have Monaghan top of the table, while Laois are fourth with two wins and three defeats. They lost their first two games against Kildare and Donegal, got back on track by beating Mayo and Tyrone, before losing to Cork last time out.
Monaghan manager Gregory McGonigle could use this game to experiment with his team ahead of the semi-finals, although he will be keen to protect his perfect record since taking charge.
There are three games on Sunday in the Drumlin Group of Credit Unions Senior Football League. At 2.30, Castleblayney host Monaghan Harps, while Magheracloone take on Ballybay. In the ‘Game of the Week’ (a new promotional idea being run by the county board), local rivals Truagh and Scotstown go head-to-head at 5pm in St. Mellan’s.
In the Monaghan Electrical Intermediate Football League, Carrickmacross make the long journey to Threemilehouse to play Seán McDermotts, Rockcorry make the short trip to Drumhowan, Currin are at home to Donaghmoyne and Aughnamullen have home advantage against Tyholland. The only game in the Gerry’s Takeaway, Ballybay Junior Football League sees Killanny and Aghabog both attempting to get off the mark after opening-round defeats. There are also games in all divisions of the Reserve Football League.
Meanwhile, Truagh are at home to All Saints Ballymena in the Ulster Club Senior Hurling League Division 5A on Saturday.