20 June 2013 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan has injury doubts ahead of their eagerly-awaited Ulster SFC semi final against old rivals Cavan. By COLM SHALVEY

Monaghan have a number of injury concerns ahead of Saturday week’s Ulster Senior Football Championship semi-final at Clones. Owen Duffy looks extremely doubtful after he suffered suspected ankle ligament damage while playing for Latton in the county championship last Sunday and Malachy O’Rourke and his management team are also sweating over the fitness of experienced duo Owen Lennon and Dick Clerkin. Clerkin, who hasn’t missed a championship match since 2003, is struggling with a hand injury, while team captain Lennon has also emerged as a worry in recent days.

There was some good news for the county team last week, with Tommy Freeman and Gavin Doogan both getting two games under their belts with Magheracloone. Dermot Malone also played twice for Castleblayney on his comeback from a knee injury, while Peter O’Hanlon came on as a sub for Carrickmacross in his first appearance since he broke his collarbone playing for DCU in the Sigerson Cup in February.

The Cavan game has been dubbed ‘El Clasico’, but in truth no hype is needed ahead of this first championship meeting of the neighbours since the Ulster semi-final of 2001, when the Breffni County advanced to their most recent provincial senior final appearance.

Terry Hyland has brought through some very talented players from Cavan’s recent successful underage teams, which is promising to translate to a senior breakthrough, sooner or later.

Having already beaten Monaghan in the Allianz National Football League this year and with back-to-back Ulster championship wins under their belts for the first time in 12 years, Cavan will have no fears of their more experienced rivals.

The appointment of the referee for the senior match will attract more attention than usual, given the nature of the rivalry between the counties and that league meeting, which featured five red cards. Some off-the-ball incidents went unpunished at Breffni Park in February, with Conor McManus being on the end of …

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