ORIEL PONDERS THE FUTURE AS CURTAIN FALLS ON EAMON MCENEANEY’S ERA

20 July 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Co Board facing search for a successor who can bring out the full potential in a new generation. By COLM SHALVEY …
It’s back to the drawing board yet again for Monaghan after last Sunday’s All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Round Two qualifier defeat away to Laois, which signalled the end of Eamon McEneaney’s two years in charge of the county’s senior footballers.

A brace of first-half goals ultimately proved crucial as Laois saw off Monaghan by 2-12 to 0-12 at O’Moore Park. The first from Colm Kelly sparked debate – even slow-motion replays were unable to prove had crossed the line after the ball bounced back out, either off the crossbar or a back stanchion – but the second left no doubt, as Brendan Quigley sent a screamer past Mark Keogh. Monaghan were never able to bridge that gap, making for another very disappointing trip to the midlands and a second successive tame exit from the qualifiers.
Eamon McEneaney announced his decision to step down immediately after the match, citing family reasons, including the fact that his son Jim is currently playing senior infer-county football for Louth. McEneaney, who has given two decades of service to his native county as a manager and previously as a triple-Ulster winning player, said he had already all but made up his mind to leave the post to somebody who can afford to give it a full commitment for three or four years.

McEneaney didn’t have much luck on his side during his term, particularly when it came to injuries to key players, and no stone was left unturned by him or his selectors Declan Smyth and Stephen McGinnity, but the record in competitive matches didn’t inspire. This year’s seniors and last year’s Under-21s missed glorious opportunities to qualify for Ulster finals, while the qualifier defeats and this year’s Under-21 hammering in Derry were low points. Relegation from Division One of the National Football League in 2011 was no disgrace – with an identical record to when they stayed in the top flight a year earlier – but another campaign with just two wins in Division Two, leading to a drop to the third tier, was a big disappointment.

Attention will now turn to appointing McEneaney’s successor. The current county minors have a strong management team featuring …

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