MATTIE SET TO KEEP FAITH FOR DONEGAL VISIT

24 February 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

JOHN GRAHAM
This Sunday Monaghan open their National Hurling league division 3A campaign when they take on Donegal in Clones at 2.30pm.
This is a testing opener for Monaghan by any standards given that this is a very tight section where six teams will battle it out for the two places in the final which is scheduled for April 15th making for a situation where the points in every game will be vital.
Monaghan are coming to Clones on Sunday for their first official competitive outing under new manager Mattie Lennon who has been working hard since his appointment and the commencement of training.
Donegal on the other hand come on the back of a successful season last year when they defeated Monaghan in the U21 Shield semi-final as well as in their league meeting and they won the Laurie Meagher Cup so they will not be lacking in confidence.
That double success last year over Monaghan and the investment in hurling in Donegal gives manager Andrew Wallace a number of options and quite an extensive panel of players to pick from.
It was the experience of players like Gareth Quinn, Ronan McDermott, Lee Henderson, Ciaran Mathewson, Ciaran McDermott and Sean McVeigh that saw Donegal defeat Monaghan in the U21 Shield in Clones last year and those players also were very central to their Laurie Meagher Cup success so this is an experienced, accomplished Donegal outfit and it will take a major effort by Monaghan to make a winning start and pick up two valuable league points on the opening day of the season.
Monaghan themselves though can take heart in that despite being out of the silverware in league and championship last year they reached the semi-final of the Nicky Rackard Cup and for the first time had two representatives, Peter Treanor and Ronan Meegan on the Nicky Rackard Champion 15 team.
Mattie Lennon has introduced a number of younger players who would have impressed at minor and U21 level last year and he would be looking to that mixture of youth and experience to give a winning start to his term as Monaghan manager.
While a winning start would be a great boost Mattie Lennon will just as importantly, be looking for …

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