12 April 2013 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Ask a team-manager what he makes of National League results and you’re almost guaranteed to be reminded of how politicians react to being quizzed about the findings of the latest opinion polls.
If a certain opinion poll shows the politician or his party in a favourable light, you can take it there’ll be no chance that the validity or merit of the poll will be questioned.

However, should the poll results show that the politican or party’s rating has slipped and the abyss may not be too far away, just listen and look in awe at the way the value of opinion polls will be rubbished – or at least discounted – by the interviewee. Most managers behave like politicians when it comes to their assessment of the value of the national leagues. If their team does well, the league is personified as a stepping stone, a good barometer and the foundations for a bright or brighter future.

On the flip side, a bad innings in the league gets the ‘it’s all about the championship, the league is about trying out some fellas’ treatment.

After the conclusion, last weekend, of this year’s NFL, we had varying summaries from the different managers. Their take on the leagues was invariably coloured by how their team performed over the course of the seven rounds of the competition.

However, sometimes things happen in the county camps at this time of the year that takes away the focus from their league campaign and, instead, shines a light on the spirit, togetherness or otherwise within the particular set-up.

Those not privvy to the inner workings of each set-up can only speculate – on the evidence presented to them by results – on the level of morale and optimism therein.

Take Monaghan, for instance. The feel-good factor in the dressing-room after last weekend’s win over Antrim must have been almost tangible.

No doubt there are now a lot of punters at this minute who would lay a hefty bet on Monaghan at reasonable odds to take the Anglo Celt Cup this year.

After getting a horrible night’s work at Kingspan/Breffni Park in the second round of the league out of their system, Monaghan suffered a hiccup against Roscommon but all’s well that ends well and manager O’Rourke must have been extremely happy with the 3-15 tally his charges compiled last Sunday against an Antrim team who made light of the self-same Cavan team in the opening round.
From a distance, Antrim – Monaghan’s would-be 2013

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