By Niall Gartland
IT’S probably no great surprise that Sean McDermott’s find themselves only two games away from Ulster Championship honours when you consider the depth of talent at their disposal.
Niall Kearns is one of the foremost midfielders in Ulster, Adam O’Driscoll is a cracking corner-forward who scored 2-3 in their opening round win over Cookstown, and their skipper Paraic McGurk, who we spoke to after the game, has previous experiencing of representing Monaghan at intercounty level.
McGurk, who forms a powerful midfield partnership with Keans, is happy to acknowledge that they aren’t exactly lacking in the talent stakes.
“Adam’s been fantastic this year for us and got man of the match in the county final. He came back in a bit later in the year and has been racking up outrageous scores so we’re very pleased with that. Niall Kearns in the middle, in my opinion he’s one of the best midfielders in the country and we also have a great foundation in defence so we’re very pleased with the talent we have.”
Monaghan teams have an incredible record in the Ulster Club competition – Sean McDermott’s are aiming to become the eighth different club in the county to come up trumps in the competition since its inception in 2011. They didn’t take anything for granted against Cookstown as a few of their elder players have All-Ireland Intermediate medals in their back pockets.
“We knew the record Cookstown have in both Ulster and the All-Ireland in the last decade or so, so we knew we’d be up against it. But to be honest this was almost a bonus game for us. We were very much focused on the county championship.
“It had been 19 years since we won a club championship in Monaghan so that was a big day out two weeks ago. Then we regrouped and settled down, and really focused on this game and not beyond it.”
Standing in the way of a place in the final is Armagh side Belleek. They sauntered to the final in the Orchard County before taking on a fine Crossmaglen seconds team. That they came out on top suggests they won’t be out of their depth against the Monaghan men.