SHOWDOWN IN BREFFNI PARK AS MONAGHAN FACE FEARSOME FOE

19 June 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan return to Cavan to take on Fermanagh in Sunday’s Ulster SFC semi-final with a place in a third consecutive provincial final within reach. by COLM SHALVEY

Monaghan’s build-up to this game has been rocked by the news that Drew Wylie faces a long lay-off after he suffered a cruciate-ligament injury in Ballybay’s Senior Football League game against Inniskeen a fortnight ago. He is the third Monaghan player to suffer the dreaded knee injury in less than a year and just as 2013 All-Star corner-back Colin Walshe comes into contention for his first start for the county since August’s All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Dublin, Wylie’s absence robs Monaghan of a twice All-Star-nominated full-back. Jack McCarron, the other cruciate victim, who also suffered his injury on club duty, has yet to feature this year.

Monaghan will hope that any distractions won’t derail their bid for a seventh Ulster SFC win in nine games under Malachy O’Rourke. Monaghan haven’t reached three successive Ulster SFC finals since contesting four in a row between 1921 and 1924, so that is a significant target for this team as they take on their manager’s native county. O’Rourke led Fermanagh to an Ulster final in 2008, when they went so close to claiming the Anglo-Celt Cup for the first time, only to lose to Armagh after a replay.

Monaghan followed up an excellent Allianz National Football League Division One campaign, which saw them reach the semi-finals, with a hard-earned local derby win over Cavan and they now face another neighbouring county, who fancy their chances of springing an ambush.

Pete McGrath, who brought Down to All-Ireland titles in 1991 and 1994, had a disappointing first year in charge of Fermanagh, but he has overseen an upturn in their fortunes in 2015. They went six games unbeaten in securing promotion to Division Two of the Allianz National Football League and although they lost the Division Three final to Armagh, they made a winning start to the championship by …

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