CLG Mhuineacháin - Official Monaghan GAA Website

Previews (April 9-10)

April 8th, 2011

Ulster Minor Football League Group A

Cavan v Monaghan, Saturday, 12.00, Kingspan Breffni Park

Monaghan’s minor footballers will be hoping to book their place in the Ulster MFL semi-finals when they travel to Breffni Park to play Cavan on Saturday.

Monaghan won their first game of the competition against Down, but they lost to Armagh last Saturday. Cavan are bottom of Group A after losing to Armagh and Down. Armagh are already through as group winners, but win in this game would see Monaghan overtake Down into second place and qualify for the last four.

Monaghan will be looking to from Pádraig McKenna, Thomas Kerr, Johnny McGuigan, Fergal McGeough and Conor Boyle to lead the way, while Cian McEnroe, Conor Smith and Conor Moyna are among the main men for Cavan.

Ulster Minor Hurling League Division Two Final

Monaghan v Tyrone, Saturday, 12.00, Omagh

Monaghan and Tyrone meet for the second week in a row when they go head-to-head in the Ulster MHL Division Two Final at Healy Park on Saturday.

The sides clashed last Saturday, when Tyrone had a comfortable win, but both teams had already secured their place in the decider. Monaghan had a comprehensive win over Fermanagh in round one before getting the better of Donegal, while Tyrone followed up a double-scores win against Donegal with a similarly comfortable success in Fermanagh.

Monaghan will be looking for big performances from Fergal Rafter (who missed last weekend’s game), Niall Garland, Conor Cahill, Micheál Ó Mordha and Gareth Brennan, while Gerard Gilmore, Tiernan Morgan, Rory Devlin and Tommy Moore are among the main men for Tyrone.

Allianz National Football League Division One

Monaghan v Mayo, Sunday, 2.30, Inniskeen

Monaghan must beat Mayo on Sunday to have any hope of staying in Division One of the Allianz National Football League for a third year.

Monaghan are level with Galway at the bottom of the league table and they need to win, as well as hoping that Galway beat Dublin and Cork beat Armagh. That would send the relegation issue down to score-difference, which currently has Armagh ahead, but a win for Monaghan could see them overtake their neighbours for a similarly dramatic escape as last year when they narrowly avoided the drop ahead of Derry and Tyrone.

Monaghan got their campaign off to a positive start with a five-point win over Galway, but five straight defeats have followed. One-point losses against Armagh and Dublin were missed opportunities for Monaghan, either side of a three-point reversal away to Cork. Their last two games have seen them beaten easily by Down and Kerry. The Farney men need to stop that run today – not only to give themselves hope of staying up, but also to boost confidence with just under two months to go until their championship game against Tyrone. Mayo were also in trouble until last Sunday’s win over Cork secured their top-flight status. James Horan’s men started with two home games, but they only took one point from four as they drew with Down and lost to Kerry. A brace of goals by Jason Doherty gave Mayo an impressive win away to old rivals Galway, but they lost at home to Armagh before falling short with an amazing comeback against Dublin in a Croke Park thriller, where they had slipped 14 points behind in a nightmare start. Last Sunday’s victory at home to the All-Ireland champions means that Mayo are the only team in Division One that can neither qualify for the final or be relegated today, but they will still be keen to impress Horan, with places in the championship team up for grabs.

Monaghan have to look back to 1986 for their last win over Mayo, although the meetings between the counties have been infrequent. They did clash in last year’s league when Mayo had a three-point win, while the Connacht side also won on their last visit to Monaghan at Clontibret in 2006.

Mayo’s six NFL games to date have produced three times as many goals as Monaghan’s, with the westerners both scoring and conceding more majors. Monaghan have scored 2-75 and conceded 4-83, while Mayo have hit 8-71 while letting in 10-67.

Monaghan are again set to be without Owen Lennon and Vincent Corey, although they will hope to have Darren Hughes and Paul Finlay available. A positive from Monaghan’s campaign is the performances of young players like Kieran Duffy, Christopher McGuinness, Mark Keogh, David Hughes, Conor Galligan and James Turley, as well as the excellent form of Dessie Mone at centre-back. After a disappointing championship in 2010, when they lost to Sligo and Longford, Mayo have been rebuilding this year, with Jason Doherty, Alan Freeman, Aidan Campbell and Cillian O’Connor making an impact alongside experienced players such as Alan Dillon, Keith Higgins, Andy Moran and Ronan McGarrity. Dillon and McGarrity are expected to miss out today, though, as are Aidan O’Shea, Tom Cunniffe and Donal Vaughan.

Monaghan’s fate is partly out of their hands, but all they can do is keep their side of the bargain by taking the two points on offer at Páirc Grattan.

Monaghan NFL scorers 2011:

Paul Finlay 0-27 (22f); Conor McManus 1-20 (0-10f); Owen Duffy 1-4; Christopher McGuinness, Mark Downey 0-5 each; Dick Clerkin 0-4; Tommy Freeman, Conor Galligan, Dessie Mone 0-2 each; Neil McAdam, Shane Smyth, Bernard O’Brien, Colin Walshe 0-1 each



Allianz National Hurling League Division 3B Monaghan v Mayo, Sunday, 2.30, Clones

Monaghan complete their NHL Division 3B campaign with a home game against Mayo on Sunday.

It’s a top-versus-bottom clash, as Mayo head the Division 3B table on ten points, while Monaghan have yet to get off the mark. Monaghan have lost to Fingal, Louth, Donegal, Sligo and Roscommon. They can take heart from an encouraging performance against Roscommon last time out, when they were unlucky not to take something from the game. Monaghan will be looking to finish their campaign on a positive ahead of the upcoming Nicky Rackard Cup. Mayo are already in the final after five successive wins at the expense of Roscommon, Fingal, Louth, Donegal and Sligo, with an average score of nearly 22 points.

Monaghan will need Stephen Lambe, Ronan Meegan, Mickey McHugh, Éanna Mac Suibhne and Paul Murphy on form. Mayo will be without the services of star man Keith Higgins, who is on football duty, but the likes of Cathal Freeman, Derek McConn, Shane Morley, Stephen Broderick and Stephen Hoban are likely to play key roles.

On the domestic scene, there are games in all four divisions of the Platinum Tanks Reserve Football League spread across the weekend.

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