A mention for Monaghan

Right, it’s Tuesday already so time to shift the focus on towards next weekend and our NFL Round 2 clash with Monaghan. This game takes place on Sunday at St Tiernach’s Park where throw-in is 2pm. Seán Hurson of Tyrone is the ref for it. The match isn’t on TV and isn’t been streamed either but Midwest will have radio commentary on it.

The most recent time we played in Clones was in late February 2020, just a few weeks before normal life ceased to exist for all of us. Our football world seemed to be falling round our ears that day too, as we took a right pounding from the Farney lads, losing by 2-16 to 0-13. Soon after, though, football was the last thing on the minds of most people.

When League action resumed in the autumn that year, Monaghan lost to Kerry and drew with Meath. That was enough for them to stay up, as our long run in the top tier came to an end.

Their 2020 Championship run was, though, over in the blink of an eye. Drawn against Cavan in Ulster’s preliminary round, they sensationally lost by 2-15 to 1-17 after extra-time in Clones and so were gone after a single outing.

In last year’s National League they were in the all-Ulster Division One North. A defeat, to Armagh, and two draws – against Donegal and Tyrone – saw them prop up the mini-league table following which they played Galway in a relegation avoider. Lucky for them, that tie was fixed for Clones and, in a dramatic match that almost went all the way to penalties, Monaghan pinched the win by 1-21 to 2-17 after extra-time.

The Farneymen enjoyed a decent gallop in last year’s Championship, making it to the Ulster final where they lost out narrowly. In the quarter-finals they beat Fermanagh by 1-21 to 0-14 before besting Armagh by 4-17 to 2-21 in a most un-Ulster semi-final shootout. In the Anglo-Celt Cup decider Monaghan were edged out by Tyrone, losing by 0-16 to 0-15, a result that took on added significance in light of the O’Neill County’s subsequent exploits last summer.

Fast forward to last month and the rapid-fire McKenna Cup campaign. Like Donegal, Monaghan played four pre-season matches in January and they ended up as tournament winners. They played two group games in three days, starting off with an 0-12 apiece draw with Derry at Ownebeg, which they then followed up with an 0-16 to 0-11 win over Fermanagh back in Clones.

They got the rub of the green in the semis, where they beat Armagh 5-4 on penalties, after the sides finished level at the Athletic Grounds on a scoreline of 0-15 each.

In the final they beat Donegal by 1-11 to 0-13. They were well in control of that match at Healy Park at half-time, when they led by six, but once Donegal had brought on Michael Murphy the contest changed completely and Monaghan were hanging on for dear life at the finish.

They were back in Omagh last Sunday for another close fought match, this time in Round 1 of the League against All-Ireland champions Tyrone. No more than ourselves down the road in Sligo, the weather in Omagh wasn’t conducive to expansive football and that one ended in an 0-9 apiece draw.

Like the Donegal game, when we face Monaghan on Sunday they’ll have within their backroom team a man who was once heavily involved with us. Indeed, it was James Horan who first lured Donie Buckley to the Mayo set-up but he’s now a member of Banty McEneaney’s management team, which also includes former Tipp manager Liam Sheedy in its ranks.

How will we ever cope with such star quality on the sideline? How will we manage against a team we often struggle with at this time of year, a team that, like Donegal last weekend, have way more work done than us?

I think it’s safe enough to conclude that if we only play properly for fifteen minutes next Sunday, as we did the last day, we’ll come away from St Tiernach’s Park with one hand as long as the other. We simply have to perform better for longer the next day.

Okay, let’s call it – how will we fare in Clones on Sunday? It’s time for a quick straw poll on that one.

How will we do against Monaghan?

  • Lose (48%, 388 Votes)
  • Win (40%, 322 Votes)
  • Draw (12%, 97 Votes)

Total Voters: 807

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53 thoughts on “A mention for Monaghan

  1. Excellent piece as always Willie Joe.

    Would definitely tend to agree our performance last week will have to be upped considerably.

    The question needs to be asked why we always start slowly and stand off teams for long periods?(Galway,Dublin,Donegal)

    With Tommy Conroy now out of the equation who have in reserve to help us get the scores? How far is Cillian off?

    As always with Mayo more questions than answers but you can’t deny the unpredictability and excitement that they provide.

  2. Assuming tommy is out on sunday my team would be


    P O’Hora
    Brendan H
    Donnacha McHugh

    Eoghan mc

    S Coen
    J Flynn

    Fergal Boland

    Aidan Orme
    Jason Doc

  3. Tommy is a big loss and fingers crossed it’s not serious

    If we can keep our defensive shape as well as we did the last day, which I thought we did even in the first half, Monaghan will struggle to put a big score up against us

    Finish well and we’ve great chance of getting the two points

  4. What is it with mayo players and injuries. I’d say if all irelands were won with injured players we’d win every year. Hope it’s not as bad as reported

  5. 2 days ago he’s playing for his county on a heavy pitch and then tonight he’s out playing again? Seems a bit crazy.

  6. Its crazy that players who played Sunday are playing again tonight.

    There is guys who will end up playing on Saturday evening for Galway who will be playing 3 games in 6 days and god knows how many training sessions in between.

  7. Gaa do all these mad changes at under age grade for young player welfare supposedly. Made a balls of that.
    Then introduce a back door for the Sigerson and have it running same time as national league. It’s a joke.

  8. Disaster. Crazy that he had to play two days after a full-throttle national intercounty league match in winter.
    Hope he’s ok and hope it’s not the cruciate.

  9. @EastCorkExile, The extension of the Sigerson was madness. I was of the mind it was always straight knockout.

  10. If it’s a knee ligament injury it’s likely one of three things:
    ACL – season over and about 8-10 months of rehab ahead
    PCL – some surgery also required but can be back playing in 10 weeks or so, wouldnt be ideal but still can play in summer
    Medial ligament – probably a 6-8 week injury, would not be a bad outcome all things considered.
    There other types of knee issues such as a meniscus tear or a dislocated kneecap or patella injury with varying bouts of recovery time.
    Fingers crossed it’s not an ACL anyway.
    Absolutely brain dead that sigerson cup was extended. Who makes these dumb decisions??
    Isn’t it absolutely farcical that the months of Feb and March are them the vast majority of intercounty GAA is now played. We have lost the plot if you ask me. Barely any games at all in July and august in high summer. Madness.

  11. Absolutely agree Larry. . How stupid can it be to be killing our young players in Feb and March and like u say nothing in summer. I really hope its not bad. Tommy is crucial to mayo having any hope this year. I just cannot believe this has happened just when we are nearly getting back to full compliment.

  12. He might be fine.We just don’t know.Guys can opt not to play Sigerson it’s not compulsory.They can just not present to play at college.

  13. If they’re getting a football scholarship (and I have no idea if Tommy Conroy is) then I’m sure its not simply a case of not presenting yourself for the college team

  14. I hope conroy isn’t too bad bit irregardless of that the load on 3rd level county players at this time of the year is far too heavy, a lot of the top college players will have played 2 intense sigerson games last week followed by tough county match on the Sunday and same again this week.

    It’s madness, it’s a ridiculous load on the body I don’t care how well conditioned you are

  15. My team for Sunday….would like to see some of the young uns get another go at it in hopefully better conditions ie Orme didn’t play well on Sunday but would like another look at him on a harder pitch. Will start flying for this game just for a bit of extra physicality? Is ruane still out?



    E mclaughlin




  16. Tubbernan
    Yeah but the scholarship is not compulsory either.Plenty go to university or college without a scholarship

  17. Unbelievable and I agree with all the sentiments here regarding player welfare over the years we have suffered from key players getting injured. Andy cruciate 2012 v Down gone for the year and took years to get his form back. Cillian 2013 was a shoulder injury I think dislocated in the semi-final and played in the final against Dublin but wasn’t fit. Ruane broken collar bone a few years back, Mullin was injured in the run to up to last year’s all Ireland which had to affect his performance, McLaughlin’s jaw another speed merchant both injuries lessening our options of the bench, Cillian in Ennis, Doherty v Donegal who was having a fantastic year and not to forget Tom Parsons. All bad injuries and I know it’s part of the game but sickening losses. I wish Tommy Conroy all the best and hopefully he’s not badly injured.

  18. Ah stop, I’m sickened. What in the name of sweet divine has this county done to deserve such bad luck with players getting injured, never the mind the luck we have on final day

  19. Playing sigerson or with the college is not the issue. Its the crammed fixture list.

    Surely sigerson could be played in December, break at Xmas and finished in January before the league.

  20. Sigerson Cup is a great compition. It bonds together young students from the province and beyond. These are guys who meet, socialise and develop friendships every day of the week. Sports clubs are an important part of college life. Tommy could just as easily picked up injury last Sunday. It may not be that serious, thats what we have to hope for.

  21. Is there any news on the injury list at the moment? I make it Lee Keegan, Enda Hession, Tommy Conroy, Cillian O’Connor who are out or doubtful through injuries at the moment, plus Kevin McLoughlin and Matthew Ruane are out for other reasons.

    I agree with posters about the craziness of playing college fixtures in tandem with the National League. Other than the players and management teams, who cares about these competitions really? I’d love to know if the GPA are pushing these scholarships for county players, given the welfare issues connected with playing so many games on very pitches in close succession.

    On the Monaghan game, I really wouldn’t fancy us for several reasons. Monaghan are strong at home and they are in a good vein of form, having won the McKenna Cup and having held the All-Ireland champions on their home patch. They have also played a few more games than us at this point in the season.

    I watched their game in full last weekend and was impressed with their organisation, they don’t give away much easily, although they’re a bit like us in sometimes being a bit ponderous in attack. We need to figure out a way to deal with the massed defence that Monaghan will bring, something we have often struggled with in the past.

    Will Stephen Coen be available for selection, or will he be suspended? Monaghan have a big man at full-forward, which he struggled with last week (although the young guy the Farney have is no Michael Murphy, by the looks of it).

  22. @it means nothing to me. You can add Mullin to the list of missing players and yes coen available Sunday as he got 2 yellows v Donegal.. Ruanes suspension finishes on time for the dubs game.

  23. Let’s be honest about one thing.
    No one gives a shit who wins the sigerson cup apart from the players involved and (even more so) the usually young ambitious coaches and backroom staff trying to make a name for themselves.
    Literally no one else. It’s importance is grossly overstated in the overall GAA scene.
    Yeah you will get a few GAA diehards who will watch these games but what does that tell you? We just want to see top players play more often. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice for the players to play with fellas from other counties but county and club football are far more important.

    At the end of the day – I’m a GAA fan and I want to watch Irelands best players play against each other as much as I can. If we are going to make Tommy Conroy, Clifford, con o callaghan etc play 2 games a week – why can’t it be in summer when the pitches are dry and they can show their skills at the elite level properly? Why are we making our best players in the sport play the majority of their football at the elite level, in the muck and shite in the depths of winter?
    No games at all in august. 90% of players will be finished by the first week of July.

  24. Hopefully it’s a relatively minor injury for Tommy but it’s an absolute sickener all the same.

    We seem to get far worse luck with injuries than the other top counties. Was 2017 the last time we went into an all Ireland semi final or final with no big injury absentee? Last year I think Dublin, Kerry and Tyrone had a full hand to pick from when it got to semi final stage.

    Meanwhile we were missing Cillian and Oisín Mullin. Mullin was back for the final but Eoghan McLaughlin was gone. Harrison and Doherty missed the last 2 years pretty much.

  25. WJ – my post must have got lost in cyper space – I’ll have another go! (definitely don’t think there was anything controversial in it) Anyways just to re-iterate what everyone else said here about the crazy workload of young players, what is expected of them, games, training, travel and now we end up with Tommy injured. Just awful news. All to do with the “GAA calendar”. I cannot understand why the GPA aren’t speaking out about player welfare – is that not their role?

  26. @larry duff
    I couldn’t disagree more.
    Sigerson cup is a fantastic competition and a great standards of football, I played in it myself back in the day and was most enjoyable ball I ever played. Players love it too.

    Wouldn’t put any blame here on maurice Sheridan or management. It’s the football calender that is to blame. Too much of a pile up in jan/feb

  27. @Larry Duff, God forbid we’d allow the players who take part in the Sigerson Cup actually enjoy it if it interferes with the enjoyment of the Inter County choc ice fans.

    It’s funny everyone is an expert today on the Sigerson and up to now we’ve had nothing but links about it regarding streams and ironically some saying that Kerry had an advantage because of all the players they had in the Sigerson !

    As for fixture congestion and player welfare, what say the very well paid men of the GPA when the fixture calendar is being put together.

    They are the ones who need to be speaking up.

  28. I’m not saying it’s a bad comp @supermac. Of course the players would love it.
    I’m just saying nobody cares about it apart from
    The players and coaches involved.
    If you want to have a sigerson cup play it at a different time of the year, it’s interfering with IC football now which is the elite level of the game.
    I’ve watched sigerson cup games myself plenty times. Most of them are played in dreary winter conditions in front of 2 men and a dog. You get a bigger crowd the the Mayo county junior b final.
    Might not be popular to say but it’s true.

  29. Thats your opinion re Sigerson Larry. Talk to players like Stephen Coen and others from lesser counties. But I agree mkore use should be made of summertime re fixtures. Indeed league and championship could be run concurrently.
    The only way to deal with blanket defence is balance play with quick counterattacking. That requires accurate foot passing, it is football after all.
    Anybody watching a snippet of Kieran McDonald playing charity game at dome, witnessed an exhibition of exquisite long distance perfectly placed foot passing. We could be in for dogged game if we fall into the trap and rely solely on keeping possession at all costs, resulting in boring crossfield passing and slow build up
    We have a FF in Doherty. He is strong, good off the ball runner, good distributor, crafty, and can score. ROD will enjoy playing with him for one.
    Re Orme, im incline to agree with other poster, we might see him more effective in summer conditions.

  30. I know lads want to play ,
    But surely Tommy knows there’s a chance of getting injury in any game,
    I wonder why don’t our county players at this time and with mayo in a game nearly every week
    Just commit to county football, if we are going to get over the line we need to mind our players,
    I know James can’t stop them playing but at least make county players it the green and red to focus on not singers,
    Best wishes to Tommy,

  31. Players and managers are all about playing matches and I’d say players in particular love playing in different teams. Who wouldn’t at Tommy’s age? But the point is that surely two days isn’t enough for recovery in between intense matches at this time of year.

  32. The more I think about it, it’s absolute madness cramming our championship into early summer. An AI final around the 20th august was grand and a reasonable compromise from the lateness of the traditional September slot . Now it’s 24th july.
    We’ll be watching premier league soccer in august and handing over the prime time slot for our sport to other competitors. In the name of what? Earlier club championships?
    Well we shall see. The fact is that 70% of counties are finished with intercounty football by 25th July, yet every county final is still played in the muck in mid October.
    WTF are most of these counties doing with their club championship in august every other year for the last 20 years?

  33. If you are on a football scholarship to a college the least you can do is play for them
    Don’t know about Tommy

  34. Our Monaghan preview episode of the podcast is now available, in extended form, to club members on Patreon. This episode will be available to everyone else on all usual platforms tomorrow.

  35. Tough for Tommy but that’s football these days, not the first, not the last
    Great win for Colman’s, some serious record in the last few years

  36. Re Sigerson, it was definitely a competition which was taken seriously but a great outlet for players to socialise and enjoy with very good players of their age group. It was run over a weekend for a number of years, with 3 games across the weekend. The issue now is that there are more teams involved, more games, and more young people going to 3rd level.

    The timing is obviously an issue but counties do not own the players, we could free up them from a few league games but no one wants to offer that up. Everyone is for player welfare so long as the other teams compromise!

    Regarding Monaghan, will be dour game and weather not promised great, might need to double up on the rain gear….

  37. I can remember a fist fight at the dinner after a Sigerson final in Galway in the early seventies, that’s how serious it was taken.

  38. @LarryDuff Just wanted to point out that every other county waits for the AI Final to finish up so their club champions dont have a long wait before they get into the provincial club championship. If Mohill in Leitrim won the championship in August/early September, they wouldn’t get a game until their provincial championship match which could be 2+ months away.. most counties are running their own club championships at that time while the clubs in their own counties would have no interest in Friendlies once their championship is over. Its a matter of alignment by the provincial councils thats dictated by the Inter County unfortunately.

  39. Does the misery ever end! Just when I was finally shaking off the despair of last year’s final and looking forward to the new season. Hopefully the injury to Tommy isn’t too bad and he’ll be back playing soon. It just puts greater importance on getting Cillian back on the pitch as quickly as possible. We have very few scoring options.

    Regarding the game on Sunday, it won’t be easy against Monaghan and that is reflected in the match poll. I would like to see Aidan start in midfield, his power and experience will be needed against a very physical Monaghan side. We will also need to be a lot tighter at the back – every county in the country knows we are vulnerable under the high ball in the square. Hard to see a win but we might just scrape another draw.

  40. TC confirmed as a cruciate, that’s him gone for the year:-(
    Awful sickening blow. Hopes he comes back stronger and only when he is fully ready

  41. Thats just so sickening, such bad luck with injuries it is unreal. Wish the very best of luck to him in his recovery. Was feeling fairly optimistic until now.

  42. Rest up Tommy!

    Hopefully we see him back as soon as his body is ready. Such an exciting player and a fan favourite.

  43. The news we didn’t want to hear So disheartening for Tommy himself especially best of luck in his recovery and just when he was starting to catch on fire but he’s young with huge determination and will come back stronger and as horan said he’ll be with the panel to give them a boost and vice versa , very frustrating but that’s it no point letting it get us down we move on without him unfortunately that’s life that’s sport it’s the start of the season plenty of players to come back in and players now will have to step up and take his place it’ll be interesting to see who that is

  44. So sickening and disappointing for all Mayo GAA folk but none more so than Tommy himself. Only that we survived last year without Cillian I’d be even more depressed. Look how Ryan stepped up. We are not an individual, we are a team or whatever O Hora says. Onwards we go. Whatever that Donegal guy said on the podcast will be put to the test now. Sorry can’t remember his name. Plus Doc back and Cillian coming soon. Have to look at the positives.

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