26 January 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By Colm Shalvey
Just nine days remain until Monaghan begin their Allianz National Football League Division Two campaign, with a high-profile trip to Navan first up for the Farney men.
Monaghan manager Eamon McEneaney has been forced to field teams missing some of his regular first-choice players in recent weeks with college commitments the main reason for absentees. McEneaney wasn’t happy at being so short of full-strength throughout January, but it did give him the opportunity to try out more new players in the ongoing quest to build a strong panel.
Monaghan won just one of their three Power NI Dr. McKenna Cup games, but they did bounce back from the hammering at home to Down with an encouraging performance away to Armagh, even if wasteful finishing in the second half prevented them from winning the game. Results in challenge matches can often be taken with a pinch of salt, but wins over Fermanagh, Dublin and Donegal should at least come as a boost to confidence.
Of the 23 players used by Monaghan in the McKenna Cup, eight made their senior inter-county debuts. Tyholland duo Karl O’Connell and Ronan McNally, Ballybay’s Thomas O’Neill, Carrickmacross midfielder Peter O’Hanlon, Ciarán Daly from Donaghmoyne, David Millar of Drumhowan, Emyvale man James Bellew and Scotstown goalkeeper Rory Beggan all saw action. Beggan marked his debut with a clean-sheet and has now established himself on the panel, but looks set to act as understudy to Mark Keogh for the time-being, while O’Connell, McNally and Millar showed glimpses of their ability, as did O’Hanlon in his cameo against Down.
Ciarán Hanratty and Matthew McKenna have returned from long-term injuries to …

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