8 April 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan go back to Inniskeen this Sunday with one simple fact on their minds, they must beat Mayo to have any chance of surviving in Division 1 for next
season, writes JOHN GRAHAM

There are a list of permutations as to what the outcome of division 1 can be should so and so do this or so and so do that but the simple truth is that irrespective of what happens at any other venue next Sunday Monaghan have to win to be involved in any discussions when the action is all over.
Monaghan are second from bottom on two points along with Galway and are above them because of their superior score difference Monaghan with minus 14 while Galway are on minus 24.
Armagh are two points above them with a score difference of minus ten 10 and above that Mayo are on five points but have already salvaged division 1 status for next season by virtue of their victory over Cork in Castlebar last Sunday. Their main saviour was one Jason Docherty who has been the real find of the league this year and it was his goal near the end that proved to be the magic score as Mayo inflicted only a second defeat on Cork and left their place in the final very much up in the air as well.
Last Sunday was Doherty’s sixth goal in this year’s league campaign and that makes him very much one to watch by the Monaghan defence next Sunday.
Results last Sunday though mean that matters are still not sorted out at the top or at the bottom other than that Dublin are through to the final but it is still very much up in the air as to who they will play in that decider later this month.

Having defeated Cork last Sunday in what was a tough and at times physical contest Mayo will come to Inniskeen with a heightened sense of confidence that they can finish their campaign with a victory.
Last Sunday they went into their match against Cork in Castlebar with more to prove than the rebels and also in the knowledge that they had let games slip that they could and probably should have won.
They made no mistake on Sunday last although it was in the balance until the final minutes.
Work rate was the secret of this Mayo success and it’s a work rate that Monaghan will have to match on Sunday next.
Andy Moran is one of their leaders in that regard while Aidan O’Shea in midfield is also vital and up front they do pose a real threat with Jason Docherty and Alan Freeman. Elsewhere Keith Higgins, Richie Feeney and Kevin McLaughlin are all experienced players and help form a strong spine to the team.
One player who could be doubtful for next Sunday is Alan Dillon who had to leave the field with a recurrence of a hamstring injury although they will be hopeful that he well have recovered sufficiently as it is his on the field leadership that was vital in last Sunday’s victory.
Monaghan will need no reminding as to how resilient Mayo can be in that when the sides met last year Monaghan looked to be on their way to victory only to concede late scores, particularly a goal that saw that seven points lead overturned and Monaghan going home with nothing to show from a game that they had dominated for long periods.

Eamonn McEneaney will be hoping to have a few more of his established players available to him next Sunday.
Darren Hughes who came on to such effect against Kerry last Sunday should start and that would certainly bolster Monaghan’s chances but whether to use him as a part of the defence or in midfield would be a question the manager will have to consider.
His drive from midfield would be vital to keeping Monaghan on the offensive while his strength on the ball and under the high ball in defence could also prove crucial.
Monaghan do need to turn it around in midfield on Sunday next as they struggled there for long periods on Sunday last and at times in other matches but the biggest improvement Eamonn McEneaney will seek is to convert more of the chances that Monaghan are creating.

Full story in The Northern Standard

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