21 March 2013 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan got their league aspirations back on track as they put victories back-to-back over Sligo and Fermanagh in their last two outings but this Sunday they face a tricky away assignment in Dr Hyde Park when they take on Roscommon in what is a vital game for both.

A victory for Monaghan would see them consolidate in pole position with 10 points while victory for Roscommon would move them to within a point of Monaghan and everything to play for in the final round.

Roscommon have won two of their five games so far with one drawn and their victory last Sunday over Antrim shows a side that started somewhat tentatively in the league but is improving with every outing although manager John Evans has been critical of the poor standard of football that is being played in division 3. Evans too readily admits that he is fielding a very inexperienced side as Roscommon rebuild but this time around he could have and probably will have at least some of the St. Brigids players back in action following their victory in the All Ireland club championship on St Patrick’s Day and players like Karl Mannion, Senan Kilbride and the Dolans would certainly make a huge difference.

Against that though Monaghan have to concentrate solely on their own side of things as they can only play whoever or whatever is in front of them so whether the Brigid’s players are back or not is of little consequence to Monaghan’s preparations.Malachy O’Rourke will basically be looking for an all-round improvement on Monaghan’s display against Wicklow last Saturday although victory by nine points with an impressive tally of 5-13 could see people asking questions as to where or how things can improve.

Defensively Monaghan were frail particularly in the full-back line against Wicklow and they conceded some soft scores and the fact that they conceded 3-10 overall would be a cause for concern as Malachy O’Rourke readily admitted in the aftermath of the game. He will also be looking for an improvement in Monaghan’s ability to win primary possession in that vital middle third particularly from breaking ball as that did cause him concern when he was analysing last Saturday evening’s match.

The Monaghan attack when in full flight was impressive against Wicklow and if they can reproduce that form on Sunday then they can cause the Roscommon defence quite a few problems. To do that though Monaghan will have to get a good, economical supply going to the inside men and support play will be vital as Roscommon will probably initially adopt a defensive attitude. Malachy O’Rourke though could have one or two changes in personnel in his attack at least forced upon …

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