By Shaun Casey
CLONTIBRET lead the way at the top of the Monaghan Senior League having picked up eight points in their first five outings, and manager Mick O’Dowd believes another two-points would shrug off any relegation fears.
In Monaghan, the bottom four in the table at the end of the league contest the relegation playoffs, and that’s what every team wants to avoid.
“We’re delighted to be on eight points after five games especially when we’re short some of our bigger players and a couple of injuries and that,” says O’Dowd who is in the second year of his second stint in charge of his home club.
“But ten is the magic number, every team in Monaghan wants to get to ten points and then probably just reset and see what you have for the championship.”
Clontibret picked up four wins from four games against Magheracloone, Corduff, Aughnamullen and Ballybay before suffering their first defeat of the year to Inniskeen.
“Inniskeen were very good. We were missing a few players, but they were very good. We got a very fortuitous goal at the start, with a free kick and their goalie dropped it into the net and then they scored 1-8 without reply.
“They scored 3-16 that day against us. We were down a few players, but we were down those players in other games and managed to scrape through, so we were just very poor that day.”
The concession of three goals was their downfall against Inniskeen, and those three goals were the first Clontibret conceded all year.
“We got good starts in all the games, and we didn’t concede any goals, which was a massive help and that was great because then you might only need 12 or 13 points to get a win,” added O’Dowd.
“When you’re missing some players, if you can get to 12 or 13 points and keep the other side down, that’s basically what we done.
“Against Magheracloone (in the first round) we got a goal towards the end, and we seemed to have gotten a goal at the right time in all those (first four) games. We got a goal that day with about ten minutes to go which stretched us from two to five.
“The same against Corduff, we got a goal late on at a vital stage, against Ballybay we got a penalty midway through the second half and against Aughnamullen, they were missing a load of players against us, and we beat them easy enough.”