UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE IS MONGHAN’S FIRST TEST OF 2012

6 January 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By JOHN GRAHAM
This Sunday Monaghan will get their competitive season under way when they meet St Mary’s University College from Belfast in the Dr McKenna Cup in Clones at 2pm.
Since the reintroduction of the McKenna Cup in 2003 and the closed period for the training of inter county squads, although in some cases that is honoured more in the breach than in the acceptance, the McKenna Cup has taken on a new importance with counties using the competition to run the rule over prospective players for the upcoming National Football League while the colleges use it as a training ground for the forthcoming inter Varsity competitions notably the Sigerson Cup.
Last year Monaghan were in a position where they had to use the Dr McKenna Cup as a series of trail games but this year they are a little further down the road although they have to compensate for being short seven players who are on duty with the colleges in various provincial tournaments and there are one or two players who are still out injured.
By virtue of that there are a number of new faces on the 26-man panel announced by team manager Eamonn McEneaney back in December. Carl O’Connell and Ronan McNally, Tyholland, Ciaran Daly, Donaghmoyne, David Millar, Drumhowan, James Bellew, Emyvale, Rory Beggan, Scotstown, and Tommy O’Neill Ballybay are the new names that have a chance during the McKenna Cup to prove that they have the qualities and the characteristics to make it on the national league panel.
St Mary’s College too have named a 26-man panel and there are a number of names with a ring of familiarity that have already been seen on the inter county stage at some level notably Stefan McKenna, Gavin Teague, Sean O’Neill, Peter Harte, Ronan McAnenly and Niall Sludden, all Tyrone, Ronan Sexton Down and Benny Herron, Derry, so they are a team with a fair degree of quality and no little experience although Sean O’Neill is the only player on the panel who played against Monaghan when they last met in 2009.
Full report in The Northern Standard

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