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Monaghan manager Seamus McEnaney during the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup Final between Monaghan and Tyrone at Athletic Grounds in Armagh.
Monaghan manager Seamus McEnaney during the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup Final between Monaghan and Tyrone at Athletic Grounds in Armagh.

McEnaney satisfied with Monaghan preparation

By Michael Devlin

Monaghan manager Seamus McEnaney says he has been successful in his pre-season goal to give meaningful game-time to as many players was possible ahead their Allianz Football League opener with Galway this weekend.

The Farney County lost out by three points in Saturday’s evening’s BOI Dr McKenna Cup final to Tyrone, but the result did not detract from McEnaney’s overall satisfaction with how the competition fared out for his squad.

“We really enjoyed the McKenna Cup. We played 33 players throughout and got loads of learning out of it.”

McEnaney, who is now in his second stint as Monaghan boss following Malachy O’Rourke’s departure last year, started a team without mainstays Conor McManus, Rory Beggan, Darren Hughes, Jack McCarron or Fintan Kelly.

Karl O’Connell, Kieran Hughes and Ryan McAnespie meanwhile only made late cameos off the bench.

Despite the relatively insubstantial scoring return of 1-5 over 70 minutes at the Athletic Grounds, the Monaghan boss was ultimately pleased at how his fresh-faced team applied themselves.

“We had a lot of inexperienced forwards there tonight and I suppose our shooting maybe let us down at times and we gave the ball away up there.

“But the one thing that I’m absolutely delighted about was the resilience that Monaghan showed. We played to the very end, got a goal, and could have got a couple of scores that could have narrowed the gap. But in relation to attitude, resilience, all those things, I’m really happy with it.

“Our aim was to give as many players an hour and a half of football in the McKenna Cup. I think if you go back through it, I had 30 players play an hour and a half over the three games. I’m delighted we got that game-time.”

McEnaney isn’t looking beyond this weekend’s game in Salthill and is expecting a big Galway crowd to turn out for new boss Pádraic Joyce’s first home game in charge.

Joyce claimed his first piece of silverware as Galway senior manager with a FBD Insurance Connacht GAA Senior Football League title on Saturday, following a 1-14 to 0-11 victory over Roscommon at Dr Hyde Park.

“The only game I’m interested in now is Galway in Salthill. It’s a huge match for Monaghan, it’s away, it’s Pádraic Joyce’s first game in charge of Galway at home, and I’m sure there will be a huge Galway crowd there. That’s the only game I’m focusing on, there’s no other game at the moment.”

McEnaney confirmed that he will be without experienced defender Colin Walshe, who sustained an ankle injury in the opening moments of Saturday evening’s game.

However, talismanic forward Conor McManus, who was named on the bench but did not feature, is available for selection against Galway.

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