11 May 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By Kevin Carney
With a clean bill of health and a crew itching to make up for a decade and more with ‘what-might-have-been’ tags attached, Monaghan’s premier ladies football squad will go into this Saturday’s (4.45pm) NFL Division One final against Cork at Parnell Park in confident mood.
Cork’s football tradition might make them more blue blooded than the the Oriel county girls but tradition never won a match yet and Monaghan team-manager Greg McGonigle and his think-tank and players won’t be thinking about past meetings this weekend as they head to the north side of the capital.
When McGonigle and co. came on board in January last year, they knew where they wanted to be come the business end of the season – on top of the pile, not only in Ulster but Ireland as well.
The powerbrokers within ladies football in county Monaghan pushed out the boat in December 2010 when they went looking for a new management team. History will show that they chose well.
McGonigle and his fellow selectors have made quite an impression to date. They have been seen to get the best out of their charges and the camaraderie and spirit in the camp over the past 18 months has been one of the hallmarks of the county panel.
Of course, it’s a panel with a great belief in itself and imbued with a great sense of ambition and pride so it’s not as if McGonigle and his assistants inherited no-hopers, floating towards no port in particular.
For them, and their players, the destination was always crystal clear. The championship is the biggie and that’s where they wanted to make the biggest impression of all, hence the devastation suffered by all concerned on the back of their 2011 championship heartache at Croker.
However, that said, the League is being increasingly seen by team-managements as offering a major springboard towards achieving the holy grail.
Gregory McGonigle is wont to talk up his charges. He recognises that giving his charges a real sense of their own worth and potential is key to them realising their potential.
Gregory has gone on record as saying that his team’s recent performance against Dublin was top notch but, crucially, he insists Monaghan have more in the well to draw from:
“The performance against Dublin was good regards their workrate and their tenacity all over the field,” he explained to county board PRO Brenda McAnespie earlier this week.
“But we still gave away a lot of possession and we will have to improve to beat Cork.
“If you make mistakes against Cork you usually get punished. In saying that, both the team itself and us along the line have taken confidence from the win over Dublin and I firmly believe that if the girls are more clinical they can beat Cork.”
The team’s victory over Dublin said a lot about the team’s character, guts and will-to-win.
It is notable that McGonigle cited the team’s work rate and also the amount of turnovers Monaghan effected all over the field as being exceptional.
“The forwards worked very hard and recorded some great scores while the defence, as a whole …

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