There are major fixtures for Monaghan’s senior footballers and hurlers this weekend, while the minor and U-17 footballers are in Ulster league action and Patrician High School, Carrickmacross contest an All-Ireland final.
Allianz National Football League Division One
Monaghan v Kerry, Sunday, 3.00, Clones
Monaghan will attempt to get back to winning ways in the NFL Division One when they host Kerry at St. Tiarnach’s Park on Sunday.
Monaghan started their campaign with wins over Roscommon and Down, but defeats at the hands of Dublin, Mayo and Cork mean they need to pick up points from their two remaining home games. Kerry lost their first two games against Dublin and Roscommon, before hitting form to defeat Down, Donegal and Mayo.
Monaghan won on their travels to Tralee last year, but Kerry won on the counties’ previous meeting at Inniskeen in 2011. Both teams show two changes from round five, with Monaghan recalling Thomas Kerr and Daniel McKenna for Gavin Doogan and Conor McCarthy, while Kerry bring in David Moran and Brian Kelly in place of Bryan Sheehan and Brendan Kealy. The hosts will look to provide greater support up front to Conor McManus in this one, while Colin Walshe, Drew and Ryan Wylie and Darren Hughes are among other main men. Darran O’Sullivan has been in fine form in attack for Kerry, who will also be looking for big performances from the likes Colm Cooper, Kieran Donaghy, Moran, Johnny Buckley and Marc Ó Sé.
Monaghan: Rory Beggan; Colin Walshe, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie; Dessie Mone, Fintan Kelly, Karl O’Connell; Neil McAdam, Darren Hughes; Shane Carey, Dermot Malone, Thomas Kerr; Ryan McAnespie, Daniel McKenna, Conor McManus (Capt.).
Subs: Mark Keogh, Conor Boyle, John McCarron, Kieran Duffy, Vincent Corey, Niall McKeown, Kieran Hughes, Owen Duffy, Conor McCarthy, Barry McGinn, Fergal McGeough.
Kerry: Brian Kelly; Marc Ó Sé, Mark Griffin, Shane Enright; Peter Crowley, Aidan O’Mahony (Capt.), Fionn Fitzgerald; Kieran Donaghy, David Moran; Johnny Buckley, Paul Murphy, Donnchadh Walsh; Darran O’Sullivan, Colm Cooper, Stephen O’Brien.
Subs: Brendan Kealy, Killian Young, Alan Fitzgerald, Barry John Keane, Pádraig O’Connor, Brendan O’Sullivan, Denis Daly, Pa Kilkenny, Jonathan Lyne, Paul Geaney, Aidan Walsh.
Allianz National Hurling League Division 3A Final
Monaghan v Roscommon, Saturday, 4.00, Ballyshannon
Monaghan contest the NHL Division 3A Final for the second year in a row when they take on Roscommon in Ballyshannon on Saturday.
Monaghan lost to Tyrone and Roscommon in the first two rounds, but wins against Louth, Fingal and Warwickshire saw them finish second in the table behind their final opponents, who won all five group games.
Trevor Hilliard’s side will now be seeking to go one step further than last year, when they lost the final to Tyrone. Stephen Lambe has hit 2-27 in five games for Monaghan, with Mark Treanor, Niall Garland and Fergal Rafter also in double figures. Team captain Peter Treanor and Deaglán Crowe are other central players in the bid to turn over the Nicky Rackard Cup champions, who have been led by the likes of Jerry Fallon, Ronan O’Meara, Ian Delaney, Micheál Kelly and Cillian Egan.
Ulster Minor Football League Group A
Armagh v Monaghan, Saturday, 12.00, Athletic Grounds
Monaghan bid for a second Ulster MFL win in the space of a week when they travel to Armagh on Saturday.
A good win over Down got Monaghan off to a positive start, while Armagh kicked off their campaign with a convincing victory over Cavan. Micheál Bannigan, Paudie McMahon, Ryan Mohan and Ciarán Burns could play important roles for Monaghan.
Ulster U-17 Football League Group A
Armagh v Monaghan, Saturday, 1.30, Pearse Óg
Monaghan’s Under-17s will also attempt to build on an opening-round win when they face Armagh at the Pearse Óg club grounds.
After getting the better of Down, Monaghan now take on an Armagh side who fell to a heavy defeat against Cavan. Monaghan are without several of last year’s Buncrana Cup-winning squad, including several players on duty with Patrician High School, but they should still be able to call on the likes of Oran McElligott, Hugh McGinn, Cormac O’Connor and Jamie Shields.
Masita All-Ireland Post Primary Schools’ Paul McGirr Cup Final
Patrician High School, Carrickmacross v St Mary’s, Edenderry, Saturday, 2.00, Longford
Patrician High School, Carrickmacross are in the All-Ireland U-16&1/2 Final at Pearse Park, Longford on Saturday.
After winning the Rannafast Cup last November, Patrician had a three-point win in their All-Ireland semi-final against St. Jarlath’s, Tuam. Opponents St. Mary’s, Edenderry are also appearing in the Paul McGirr final for the first time, but they have a proud tradition in Colleges’ football, having won the Hogan Cup as recently as 2012. Drawing on players on four different county squads – Offaly, Kildare, Meath and Laois – St. Mary’s had a six-point semi-final win over Coláiste Chríost Rí from Cork.
The High School can call on several of their senior panel who won the MacLarnon Cup and fell just short in last Wednesday’s All-Ireland semi-final against Mountbellew: Kieran Slavin, Liam Óg Murray, Andrew Woods, Seán Burns, Ciarán McNulty and Séamus Kindlon will all play key roles, along with team captain Conor McKeown.
The Platinum Tanks Reserve Football Leagues continue with games in all divisions on Saturday. In Division 1A, it’s Truagh v Monaghan Harps, Scotstown v Latton and Magheracloone v Clontibret, while the Division 1B fixtures are Castleblayney v Cremartin, Emyvale v Aughnamullen and Ballybay v Donaghmoyne. Division Two sees Rockcorry, Tyholland and Doohamlet host Seán McDermotts, Drumhowan and Blackhill respectively, while in Division Three, Inniskeen, Killanny, Clones and Carrickmacross have home advantage against Aghabog, Killeevan, Oram and Éire Óg.
The Gerry’s Prepared Veg. juvenile competitions are getting into full swing, with action in the Under-14 Football Leagues, Under-12 Football Spring Leagues and Under-14 Hurling League over the Bank Holiday weekend.