CLG Mhuineacháin - Official Monaghan GAA Website

Previews (August 19-24)

August 18th, 2011

Another action-packed weekend beckons, with eight games to be played between the Senior, Intermediate and Junior Football Championships, while the ladies footballers play Meath in an All-Ireland quarter-final.

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Universal Graphics Junior Football Championship Semi-Final Replay

Aghabog v Cremartin, Friday, 8.15, Emyvale

Aghabog and Cremartin battle it out once again for a place in this year’s Junior Football Championship Final against Clones when they go head-to-head under lights in Emyvale on Friday evening.

The sides drew last Saturday, when Aghabog battled back from three points down in the closing stages to gain a draw. Having lost both championship and league finals last year, Cremartin are determined to put that right this year and they have led the JFL almost from the start, while wins over Fergal O’Hanlons and Cremartin saw them take the direct route through to another championship semi-final. It hasn’t been as straightforward for Aghabog, who are going into their seventh game of the championship. After needing a replay plus extra-time to get past Oram by the minimum in the preliminary round, Aghabog lost by the same margin to Clones in the first round, but they have come back with wins over Killanny and Toome. Cremartin are well ahead of their opponents in the league, but Aghabog’s form has been much better in the championship.

Cremartin will be looking for more from their forwards, particularly Darren, Stephen and Mark Bishop and Kevin Brennan, while Niall Flanagan, Barry Carragher, Gary Boyd and Christopher Farrell and Paddy and Johnny McGuigan also have key roles to play. Seán and Shane O’Brien, Gary McBride, Francis Dolan and Aidan Brady are among the main men for Aghabog.

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McGuigan Builders Intermediate Football Championship

Aughnamullen v Carrickmacross, Friday, 8.15, Inniskeen

IFC favourites Carrickmacross will bid to qualify for the semi-finals in their rescheduled game under lights at Inniskeen on Friday evening in a game which was postponed last weekend because of a bereavement.

Carrick, who were surprisingly relegated from senior football last year, failed to impress in their first-round game against Seán McDermotts, but they got over the line by the narrowest of margins. Aughnamullen battled through a war of attrition against Drumhowan in the preliminary round and they surprised Currin in the first round.

Carrick are well ahead in the IFL, but Aughnamullen pushed them all the way in a two-point game earlier this year. Carrick’s 20-point tally from 12 games has them four points ahead of their nearest challengers, while Aughnamullen are at the other end of the table, although a good win in Corduff last Sunday moved them three points clear of the bottom two.

Carrick can call on current county seniors Mark Downey, Stephen Gollogly and Mark McNally, as well as other players with county experience such as James Conlon and sharp-shooter Andy Callan. Aughnamullen are still without Pete Dooney, who is in America for the summer, but Chris Keenan, Lee Conlan, Sam Dooney, Damien Hamilton and Mark and Edmond McArdle won’t make life easy for their more vaunted opponents.

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship Quarter-Finals

Monaghan v Meath, Saturday, 2.00, Birr


Monaghan’s ladies footballers will attempt to qualify for the All-Ireland semi-finals when they play Meath in Saturday’s quarter-final.

Monaghan have enjoyed a successful year to date, from winning the pre-season Dowd Cup to regaining the Ulster title with comprehensive wins over Armagh, Down and Tyrone. They also won all of their group games in the NFL, with their only blip coming in the Division One semi-final when they lost to Laois. Meath finished third in Division Two and they beat Kerry in the last four, only to lose the final to Dublin. The Dubs once again stood in Meath’s way in the Leinster semi-finals, but they got their championship campaign back on track with a comprehensive qualifier win against Sligo.

Monaghan have been boosted by the return of Cathriona McConnell from America and they have quality all over the pitch in the likes of Ciara and Aoife McAnespie, Amanda Casey, Sharon Courtney, Ellen McCarron, Caoimhe Mohan and Therese McNally. Meath will need big performances from Elaine Duffy, Mary Sheridan and Aedin Murray, but if Monaghan can replicate the form they have shown so far, they have what it takes to take another step forward.


McGuigan Builders Intermediate Football Championship Replay

Currin v Tyholland, Saturday, 7.00, Scotstown

Even extra-time couldn’t separate Currin and Tyholland last Saturday, so they have to do it again to see who advances in the IFC.

Last year’s runners-up Tyholland slipped to a one-point defeat to Donaghmoyne in the first round, before battling past Seán McDermotts in extra-time last time out. Currin, meanwhile, started off by beating Rockcorry, only to lose out to Aughnamullen for the second year in a row.

The teams are separated by just two points in the league table, as Currin are third with 15 points, one place of ahead of Tyholland, who have had a recent surge, winning three-in-a-row. Currin ground out a two-point win in Tyholland at the start of last month after almost letting a big lead slip, so all evidence points towards another close game.

Currin are still very dependent on county captain Dick Clerkin, but he now has more support from the likes of Jack McCarron, Stephen Smyth, Ciarán and Conor McCaffrey and Philip O’Callaghan, although GerardO’Callaghan is out injured. Tyholland will once again be without long-term injury victim Gary McQuaid and Shane Treanor (in Boston), while Raymond Ronaghan is also set to miss out, but they have Karl O’Connell back after suspension and he should play a big part alongside Paul Askin, Ronan McNally, Gregory Ronaghan and Peadar Farrelly.

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Gormley uPVC Senior Football Championship

Clontibret v Latton, Saturday, 7.00, Inniskeen


Two of the leading contenders for the Senior Football Championship cross swords on Saturday evening when defending champions Clontibret take on Latton with a semi-final place at stake.

Both teams got past the senior league’s bottom two in the first round of the championship, but in very different games, as Clontibret easily brushed aside the challenge of Inniskeen, while Latton had to work hard to see off Doohamlet by three points.

After losing their first two league games, Latton are unbeaten in 13 games since then, taking them up to second place in the SFL, three points and two places ahead of Clontibret. Clontibret won the teams’ first league meeting this year by a single point, but Latton ran out comfortable winners in the return fixture. The clubs have met regularly in the championship in recent years, most recently in the 2009 final when Clontibret ran out easy winners, but that was an aberration in a run of closely-contested clashes. Clontibret retained the title last year – their fourth title in five years – while Latton failed to win a championship game, but the O’Rahillys bounced back to win the league.

John Paul Mone could continue at full-forward for Clontibret after he scored 3-2 against Inniskeen, but he won’t get the same space from Latton, so the bulk of the scoring burden is likely to be with Conor McManus, even though all six Clontibret forwards scored the last day. Vincent Corey, Paul McGuigan, Colum Greenan and Dessie Mone (who is available after suspension) should also play key roles for the O’Neills. Latton will hope to be able to start with their long-standing midfield partnership of Owen Lennon and Aidan Farmer after Lennon missed the Doohamlet game through injury. Owen Duffy, Bernard O’Brien, Hugh McElroy and Shane Coyle provide Latton with options up front, while Kieran Duffy and Edmund Lennon man the central defensive positions.


Gormley uPVC Senior Football Championship

Inniskeen v Magheracloone, Sunday, 2.00, Aughnamullen


Having got their SFC campaign back on track against Doohamlet last Saturday, Magheracloone will be expected to pick up another win when they take on Inniskeen this Sunday.

Magheracloone lost tamely to Truagh in the first round and they were made work all the way against Doohamlet, but they eventually pulled away in extra-time to keep their hopes alive. Inniskeen fell to a heavy defeat against Clontibret in their first game, but they shocked Monaghan Harps last time out for their first win of the season. Magheracloone have lost Tommy Freeman and Francie Doogan to emigration, while Paudie Finnegan was also in America for part of the summer, but they are still third in the Senior Football League with 20 points from 14 game and they have beaten the Grattans twice this year. Inniskeen have just one point to their name in the league, but as they showed last Sunday, they are capable of raising their game for a knock-out championship match.

The rejuvenated form of Damien Freeman has gone some way to compensating for the absence of his brother Tommy, while James and Pete Ward, Paudie Finnegan and Peter Tuite have also been going well for Magheracloone, who got a boost last week with the long-awaited return from injury of Gavin Doogan. Inniskeen have two sharp-shooting full-forwards in Paul and Ronan Meegan, with Matthew McKenna, Gerry McArdle and Trevor Hilliard also key players.

McGuigan Builders Intermediate Football Championship

Éire Óg v Rockcorry, Sunday, 2.00, Tyholland

Rockcorry will be hoping to build on their encouraging win over Drumhowan when they take on Éire Óg in the IFC back-door on Sunday afternoon.

Rock recovered from a four-point defeat to Currin to beat Drumhowan by double-scores last time out, while Éire Óg are the only remaining team in the IFC yet to win a game as they got a bye through the last round after losing tamely to Corduff in round one.

Rockcorry have had much the better form in the IFL this year, as they are tied for fifth with 12 points from as many games, while Éire Óg are bottom with just two wins to their name, although Rock were relieved to emerge from their game in Smithborough with the narrowest of wins.

Rock will be looking to Mark and Keith Daly, Paul and Niall McKeown and Mark and Stephen McGuirk to lead the way, while Éire Óg will need Paddy Croarkin, Marc McBride, Ronan Cassidy and Pádraig McKenna on top of their game if they are to have a chance of turning their season around.

Gormley uPVC Senior Football Championship

Castleblayney v Truagh, Sunday, 5.30, Clontibret

Ballybay v Scotstown, Sunday, 7.00, Clontibret


The championship weekend concludes with a double-header in Clontibret on Sunday evening. First up, Castleblayney and Truagh put their SFC hopes on the line.

Blayney are the only team left in the senior championship yet to win a game, as they got a bye through the last back-door round after losing their opener against Scotstown. Truagh were impressive in their first-round win over Magheracloone, but they disappointed last Sunday, scoring just three points in their defeat to Ballybay.

If league form is anything to go by, a close game is on the cards, as just a point separates the teams after 14 rounds, with Blayney on 13 points, one ahead of Truagh. The north-Monaghan men had a double-scores win at home to Blayney back in March in the first round of the league, while the sides played out a draw in their last meeting.

Blayney can call on current county seniors in Ciarán Hanratty, Dermot Malone, Cormac Brady, Martin McElroy, Dermot McArdle and Ciarán Hughes, while Truagh have rising stars Daniel, Pádraig and Christopher McKenna in their ranks, along with established senior players like Mark Counihan, Barry Cuddy and Niall Feely.

Ballybay and Scotstown will be chasing a place in the SFC semi-finals when they meet in part two of Sunday’s double-header.

Ballybay have led the SFL throughout the year and they are currently two points clear at the top, while they already have two good wins under their belts in the championship, having seen off Monaghan Harps and Truagh with the minimum of fuss. Scotstown were inspired by Kieran Hughes (who scored 2-2 from play in one of his first full games since returning from a long absence with a knee injury) in their first-round win over Castleblayney, although they were left hanging on at the end after a strong comeback by Blayney. The sides have played out two closely-contested games in the league, both of which went Ballybay’s way.

Ballybay have quality forwards in Paul Finlay, Christopher and Shane McGuinness, Thomas Kerr and Hugh Malone, with Drew Wylie and Fergal Smyth also key men. Scotstown, who were boosted by Under-21 success on Monday, are backboned by Darren and Kieran Hughes, James Turley, Donal Morgan and Francis Caulfield and they will hope to have Mark Duffy back available despite his injury troubles.

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Maguire Transport Minor Football Championship Division One Semi-Final

Clontibret v Scotstown, Monday, 7.15, Monaghan


Clontibret will be aiming to take a big step towards defending the MFC Division One title by qualifying for another final when they take on Scotstown at Gavan Duffy Park on Monday.

Clontibret, who edged past St. Pat’s in the quarter-finals, will be favourites based on their league form, as they are second in the MFL Division One table with 19 points, four points ahead of Scotstown, although the Blues had a comprehensive win over Emyvale in their championship opener and they have won their last three league games.

Clontibret can call on county minors Conor Boyle, Brian Greenan and Conor Lavelle, as well as Shane Hughes, who scored two goals against St. Pat’s. Scotstown, who are backboned by last year’s Under-16 championship winners, will need big performances from Ruairí Sheehan, Donncha Dolan and Seánie Mohan, although they are missing Ryan Caulfield, who suffered a serious knee injury in a recent league game and this game looks set to come too soon for Micheál McCarville, who is recovering after an appendix operation.


Maguire Transport Minor Football Championship Division One Semi-Final

Castleblayney v Truagh, Tuesday, 7.15, Tyholland


Castleblayney and Truagh clash in the second MFC Division One semi-final on Tuesday evening.

Blayney are the form team in the county at the moment, having won five and drawn one of their last six games, while they put in a powerful second-half performance to see off Monaghan Harps in the championship quarter-finals. Truagh won by the narrowest of margins against Carrickmacross and they are in a three-way tie for third place in the league.

Blayney will be depending on accurate free-taker David McMahon, Cailean O’Sullivan (who hit all three goals against the Harps), Fergal Malone, Patrick Finnegan and Barry Hanratty, but they have been weakened by the loss of county minor Pauric Greene through injury. Truagh have players with senior experience in Christopher and Pádraig McKenna, as well as fellow county minor Adam Treanor.

Maguire Transport Minor Football Championship Division Two Semi-Finals

Killanny v Latton, Tuesday, 7.15, Corduff

Magheracloone v Rock Sarsfields, Tuesday, 7.15, Doohamlet

Defending champions Killanny are up against Latton in the semi-finals of the MFC Division Two.

Latton beat Na Fianna (Tyholland and Éire Óg) in the first round of the championship, while Killanny, who shocked Corduff in last year’s final, got a bye to the last four. Killanny look well poised to defend their title based on league form, as they are top of the MFL Division Two and they have already beaten Latton twice this year. These sides also met in the Under-21 Division Two Final last month, which resulted in a narrow win for Latton.

Killanny, who are starting to benefit from a string of successes at underage level, have some promising young players in Michael Vernon, Cillian and Dermot Leegan and Declan McGlew

The other semi-final sees Magheracloone and Rock Sarsfields go head-to-head.

Rock Sarsfields (an amalgamation of Rockcorry and Killeevan) had a convincing win over Seán McDermotts in the quarter-finals, while Magheracloone got a bye. Just a point separates the teams in the MFL Division Two, where Magheracloone are second with 13 points, but Rock Sarsfields have two games in hand. Magheracloone had a double-scores win at home to Rock Sarsfields in the league, but

Rock Sarsfields can call on a number of players who featured for the county minors this year, such as Mark McGuirk, Fergal McGeough, Lorcan Smyth, Keelan Clerkin and David Graham, while Magheracloone will be depending on Killian Rudden, David Kirk and Jamie Kieran.

Maguire Transport Minor Football Championship Division Three Semi-Finals

Aughnamullen v Donaghmoyne, Tuesday, 7.15, Toome

Blackhill v Cremartin, Tuesday, 7.15, Oram


Donaghmoyne and Cremartin will be expected to book their places in the MFC Division Three Final in Tuesday’s semis.

Aughnamullen and Donaghmoyne both ran up big scores in defeating Inniskeen and Clones respectively in the quarter-finals, but it’s the latter who look to be hitting top form at the right time. Donaghmoyne beat league leaders Clones twice last week, once in the league, to move up to second in the MFL Division Two and they have already comprehensively Aughnamullen twice this year.

Donaghmoyne are backboned by players from last year’s Under-16 Division Two finalists like Niall Garland, Conor and Joe Finnegan and Fergal Keenan, while Aughnamullen will need Colin Clerkin, Keith Sheridan, Shane Conlon and Niall McShane

Cremartin, who got a bye through the first round, will be favoured to advance past Blackhill in the other Division Three semi-final.

Blackhill had a good win over Corduff in the quarter-finals, but they lost heavily in the league to Cremartin, who are eight points and three places ahead in the table. Cremartin have this year’s county minor captain in Johnny McGuigan, while Blackhill will need fellow county minor Donal Courtney on top form, although they can call on a few players who won an Under-21 Division Three title last month.


Before all that, Castleblayney defend their unbeaten record in the Silver Hill Foods Senior Hurling League when they host Carrickmacross on Thursday. There had been a full round of games in the Monaghan Electrical Intermediate Football League set for Friday, but due to the IFC replay and re-fixture, only one game goes ahead, with Corduff hosting Donaghmoyne in a repeat of their championship match from last Sunday.

As well as all the championship games over the weekend, there are games in the Gerry’s Takeaway Junior Football League on Sunday, when Clones host Killanny and Emyvale play Oram, while there are also games in Divisions Three and Four of the Platinum Tanks Reserve Football League. On the underage scene, semi-finals take place in the Gerry’s Takeaway Under-16 Football Leagues on Thursday, while Saturday is semi-final day in the Under-12 Football Leagues.

There are three games in the Drumlin Group of Credit Unions Senior Football League next Wednesday. It’s top versus bottom when Ballybay travel to Inniskeen, while Magheracloone and Doohamlet renew rivalries after their recent championship clash and Truagh take on fellow north-Monaghan side Monaghan Harps.

In the IFL, leaders Carrickmacross are away to Rockcorry, while their nearest challengers Corduff and Currin both travel north to play Tyholland and Seán McDermotts respectively. Elsewhere, there’s a local derby between Aughnamullen and Drumhowan, while Éire Óg have home advantage against Donaghmoyne.

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