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18 December 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

At County level in 2015 the fortunes of the Monaghan senior, under-21 and minor teams were in complete contrast to each other, with the senior football team scaling the heights while at Under-21 and minor level there was not the same degree of excitement and celebration. by JOHN GRAHAM

When Monaghan County Board Chairman Padraig Sherry described 2015 as “a fantastic one in Monaghan”, in his address to County Convention, he was in fact re-echoing the feelings of the vast majority of Monaghan people as the year just ending had seen Monaghan consolidate in the top echelons of the inter-County GAA scene.

The chairman spoke of how immensely proud he was of what our Senior county team achieved in “winning the Ulster Championship for the second time in 3 years – and retaining their place in Division 1 of the National Football League. Winning back the Anglo-Celt Cup is a fantastic achievement and merits huge credit to our county panel, their management team and backroom staff.

Monaghan continues to fight above its weight, competing with great spirit and skill against the biggest and best teams in the country. Their continued strength and success is a major boost for Monaghan GAA, and Monaghan people as a whole, at home and abroad.”

That, in essence, sums up Monaghan’s inter-County football year but at the same time is our senior County football team achieving what it has by simply “fighting above its weight”. Looking across the whole scene in the county will show that we have players of a calibre that is on a par at least with the best that others have and in some cases above the standard that others are producing. That is borne out by the success of the three Monaghan club football champions in Ulster club competition, two of them reaching the provincial deciders and one, Rockcorry winning out in the Junior championship, as the opposition simply could not live with the quality of player that Rockcorry have at their disposal. The quality of those players and the displays they produced did not just happen by accident but rather is the product of hard work on behalf of coaches and players alike, the development of systems that suited the strengths of their players and a desire by the players to simply be the best they can on every occasion that they take the field.

Monaghan showed that to very good effect during the year, first of all by regaining the Anglo Celtic Cup which in the last three years has become a competition between Monaghan and Donegal, winning four and drawing one of their seven games in the Allianz Football league division 1, to reach the semi-final where the eventual All Ireland champions, Dublin, were pushed to the very limit and scraped home by the minimum margin.

The result in the final of the Ulster Senior Football Championship saw Monaghan deservedly defeat Donegal for the second time in three years but Donegal are never rated as a County that is punching above their weight, but rather as one of the leading lights and one of the teams that are setting the standard. It is a mindset that has been cultivated and when Monaghan’s victory over Donegal in the Allianz National League is added to their ….

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