By Kieran Lynch
AFTER an enthralling final weekend in the group stages of the Monaghan Senior Football Championship, we are down to just six remaining teams.
The final team of the six to confirm their place in the quarter-finals was Latton, who sealed third spot with a 1-7 to 0-4 victory over the previously unbeaten Truagh, and manager Cathal McAnenly was delighted that his team were able to get over the line.
“The most important thing for us was to get through to the next round of the championship,” he said.
“We achieved that goal last Sunday and we’re very happy with that; but at the end of the day, it’s only one step at a time.”
Latton were beneficiaries of the format of the Monaghan Championship, as they are still in the competition despite losing two of their opening three games. However, because they made it through, McAnenly says that he can’t complain about how the team have performed to this point.
“In fairness, overall this season we have progressed,” he said.
“We’re into the quarter-finals now and that’s due to steady progression. We’re happy with the players, and we can’t complain about where we are now. Roger Keenan and I took on the job this year and I have to say that they have trained well, and put in the effort, and that’s all that we can ask for.
“We never set the goals too high at the start of the year, it has always just been about winning the next game, and taking it one game at a time, and see where that takes us. We’re still in the championship, and our goal is to have a hell of a crack at the next game.”
Whilst Latton had the lowest points total from their group games of any of the six remaining teams, nothing is a given in the extremely competitive and unpredictable nature of Monaghan football.
That was shown to its fullest extent last weekend, as four teams finished level on five points in Group One. Now that the championship is into the knock-out stages, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will win it, and that could play to their advantage.
“I suppose anybody can beat anybody else,” stated McAnenly.
“Unlike most other counties, there are only 10 teams competing in the Monaghan Championship, and because there are less teams competing in the competition, that means that everybody will have the view that they’re able to win any game that they’re going out to play in, and that makes it a very competitive championship.”
In the quarter-final, Latton will take on reigning champions Scotstown in what is as tough a fixture as they could have asked for. However, if we have learned anything from this year’s championship to date, it’s that we should always expect the unexpected.
“Of course it will be a challenge, Scotstown have been the reigning champions of Monaghan for a couple of years now,” McAnenly concluded.
“But it’s all about what happens on the day, and as I said earlier, in this championship, on any given day, anybody can beat anybody else – so you just have to go at it, give it your best shot, and prepare well.”