ULSTER FINAL FEVER HEATS UP WITH TEN DAYS TO GO UNTIL ST TIARNACH’S CLASH

10 July 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

With ten days to go until Monaghan and Donegal lock horns, excitement is building for the third consecutive Ulster SFC Final between these teams. by COLM SHALVEY

Monaghan’s preparations for the renewal of Ulster football’s big current rivalry have centred on injuries to Ballybay club-mates Drew Wylie and Christopher McGuinness.

The elder Wylie brother’s knee injury is now said to be a less-serious medial ligament damage rather than the cruciate, as originally thought, which means he could still play some part in the championship, although it is very much a long shot that he could be involved against Donegal. McGuinness hopes to be available for selection against Donegal despite suffering an ankle injury on club duty. The forward, who scored a point in the 2013 Ulster final and a goal last year (the only major in those two games), has been wearing a protective moon boot in an attempt to speed up his recovery.

Malachy O’Rourke has used 38 players in all competitions this year, including 23 in the two championship games, so there are a few selection decisions to be made for Sunday week’s showdown. 14 of those players have chipped in on the scoresheet in Monaghan’s two championship games to date, which is one more than the total number of scorers in six outings last summer.

The Monaghan attack is the main source of interest, where the likes of Paul Finlay, Owen Duffy, Stephen Gollogly and McGuinness (if fit) will be pushing for places. Gollogly’s substitute appearance against Fermanagh last time out saw him overtake Damien Freeman as Monaghan’s sixth most-capped championship player with 39 games, while Finlay with 46 is second only to Dick Clerkin, who made his 50th SFC appearance in that semi-final.

Monaghan’s players and manager were centrally involved in a very successful fundraising breakfast morning which brought big crowds of all ages to The Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan and The Fiddlers …

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