Previews (February 12-14)
The Allianz National Football League is on a break until February 27, but there are three Monaghan county teams in action this weekend.
Allianz National Hurling League Division 3A
Monaghan v Tyrone, Sunday, 2.00, Clones
Monaghan’s senior hurlers once again begin their NHL campaign against Tyrone.
12 months ago, Monaghan started life under Trevor Hilliard with a draw against their neighbours and the sides went on to meet again in the Division 3A Final, which Tyrone won. Monaghan managed to hit the ground running on a long unbeaten run in 2015 and their preparations this year have been helped by competing in the Conor McGurk Tournament. Tyrone’s start to 2016 was hit by the departure of Mattie Lennon, but they received a significant boost with the appointment of former Antrim, Waterford and Carlow manager Kevin Ryan.
Monaghan will hope to have the likes of Stephen Lambe, Éanna Mac Suibhne, Peter and Mark Treanor and Fergal Rafter available, while Damian Casey, Conor and Seán Óg Grogan, Matthew Mulgrew and Tiernan Morgan could be among the main men for Tyrone.
Under-21 Shamrock Cup
Monaghan v Antrim, Friday, 8.00, Inniskeen
Monaghan’s Under-21 footballers need a win in Friday night’s game against Antrim under the lights of Páirc Grattan if they are to maintain their interest in the Shamrock Cup.
A narrow win over Louth was followed by a loss to Tyrone, leaving Monaghan needing to take full points from Antrim, who lost to the Wee County in their opening game last weekend. Barry McGinn, Ryan McAnespie and Conor McCarthy have been part of the county senior panel in recent weeks but could play some part in this one against an Antrim team who Monaghan defeated on their way to a first Ulster MFC title in 68 years in 2013.
Adam Treanor has been in prolific form for Monaghan, who will also be looking for big performances from the likes of Kevin Loughran and Dessie Ward. Gareth George, Ruairí McCann and Ruairí Scott could feature for Antrim.
Lidl Ladies National Football League Division One
Monaghan v Dublin, Sunday, 2.00, Emyvale
Monaghan’s senior ladies bid for their first win of 2016 when they host Dublin in Emyvale on Sunday.
A new-look Monaghan team started their campaign with a defeat away to Galway last Sunday, while Dublin followed their opening-round win over Kerry by losing narrowly to Mayo. This is a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final, which saw the Dubs just hold off a second-half charge from Monaghan.
New Monaghan manager Paula Cunningham will be looking for big performances from the likes of Cora and Sharon Courtney, Gráinne McNally, Therese Scott, the McAnespies and Ellen McCarron if Monaghan are to claim their first points. Sinéad Aherne, Noelle Healy, Lyndsey Davey, Niamh McEvoy and Carla Rowe are key players for Dublin, with former Monaghan manager Gregory McGonigle also expected to give four-time All-Star Sinéad Goldrick her first start of 2016 on Sunday.
Ulster Club Under-21 Football Championship Quarter-Final
Magheracloone v Glen Watty Grahams, Sunday, 2.15, Creggan
Magheracloone contest the Ulster Club Under-21 semi-final against Glen Watty Grahams this Sunday in Creggan.
Magheracloone, who overcame an understrength Kilcar in the quarter-finals, will take on the Paddy McLarnon Cup holders from Maghera at the Co Antrim venue at 2.15pm. No Monaghan club has yet won the Creggan Kickhams Tournament, with Truagh in 2014 the only team from the county to make the final to date.
Magheracloone will need big performances from the likes of Alan McCahey, Allan Kieran, Paudie McMahon, Paul McArdle, James Lambe, Killian Rudden and Michael Metzger against their star-studded opponents. AFL recruit Conor Glass, Paul Gunning, Ciarán McFaul, Danny Tallon and Conor Convery are among the leaders of the Derry club who have dominated Ulster minor and U-21 tournaments in the last few years.