2 March 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

The 2012 season is finally here and all the hard work and late nights trying to get everything ready will now reap rewards. Monaghan United are ready for the Premier Division. We have put in place new structures, training facilities, kit, coaching staff, pre-match meals and buses to games. Getting all this done while signing players and dealing with registration problems has been gruelling for everyone involved but we are now showing the football community that we mean business and that we are a club to be reckoned with.
In year’s past, people may have been laughing at us and calling us a small club, but now we have the foundations of a top class professional club and I have players coming to me asking me when the window opens again so that they can come to Monaghan United.
All the progress off the pitch is lifting the team’s spirits. Gortakeegan is looking great and the improvements around the ground will really make a difference this season. Most of the media talk has been about the other 2 clubs who gained promotion but people forget that they went through major crisis off the pitch over the last few years while Monaghan United have quietly plugged away and have built up the club on honesty and integrity. That is something that I respect and am helping the club to push even further. I intend to leave a solid foundation and professional legacy at Monaghan United when I go.
At the time of writing I have not settled my starting 11 for tomorrow night’s game against Dundalk. Unfortunately a combination of injury worries and suspension has left me with some difficulties. Robert Bayly, Jordan Keegan and Owen Humphries are all doubtful with injury and Keith Quinn is suspended.
I am a bit apprehensive but we have to remember that we are very much a team in transition. We are making the move up from the First Division and we have had to let some players go who are not strong enough for the Premier. We also lost some players to other clubs where we could not compete with the wages being offered. But that is football. We have assembled a great squad, who when fit, will challenge anyone.
Of course it would be nice to start the season with a win against Dundalk and also against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght but I am a realist and I know that this season is about progression and the league doesn’t hinge on the first few games. It may take us a few weeks to settle in but I know that our players now believe they can achieve and will be merciless in their approach.
While we extend a welcome to Sean McCaffrey and his team to Gortakeegan, we will make them feel like they are robbers who have broken into our house. They are going to have to fight to take anything home with them. Our motto for the season is ruthless hospitality. Gortakeegan will be a fortress with our players not lying down for anyone. Our supporters will play a vital role in this too and make the visiting teams nervous.
While I don’t ever plead, I am asking fans to be patient and give the squad time to settle, then we will prove to you all that Monaghan United are a force in the Airtricity League of Ireland not to be sniffed at. With only a few hours to go to kick off, all that is left to do is to welcome our new players to the Mons and welcome back returning members of last year’s squad. I particularly am delighted to have Conor McMahon back after his nasty leg break last season. His determination to be fit and ready to play has been an inspiration to us all.
I also welcome our fans back and hope that many more will come out to support a club on the rise who are proud to call themselves Monaghan United. The 2012 Airtricty League of Ireland Premier Division starts Friday, be there for your club.

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