By Shaun Casey
BOTH Monaghan and Kerry are searching for their first points of the 2023 National League following opening-day defeats. Monaghan lost out to old rivals Armagh while a last-minute Paddy McBrearty score denied Kerry a share of the spoils up in Donegal.
It’s a daunting trip for Vinny Corey’s men, taking on the reigning All-Ireland champions on their home turf and without a number of key men.
Gary Mohan pulled up during the warm-up last Saturday evening, while Jack McCarron limped off during the opening minutes with a hamstring injury. Conor McManus is unlikely to be available either, leaving Monaghan well short in terms of attacking power.
“It’s an unforgiving place Division One,” said Corey, a two-time Ulster Championship winner with the Farney County.
“When you’re down a few players, you’re going to feel the pinch, you’re up against the best teams so you need boys that can do damage at the other end of the field. You can do without one or two but when you’re down three or four, it’s going to be an uphill struggle.
“That’s Division One, round the corner the next tough game is coming at you straight away, there’s no reprieve in Division One. It’s a long trip for us down to Killarney, it’s tough, probably minus a few players again.
“But they’re all tough in Division One and we’ll just have to take the positives from it. We’ll just travel light and get ready for another performance.”
There are some positives Corey can take from last weeks defeat. Despite a horrible start to the second half, Monaghan were well in the mix at the death, but Armagh just had enough to get over the line.
“By and large we weren’t in a bad position, but the damage was done straight after half time,” added the Clontibret clubman. “There was a mixture of being turned over around the middle and being pressed hard on the kick-out, losing kick-outs.
“All of a sudden after six or seven minutes, Armagh reeled off six points without reply. That was the turning point but credit to our boys, they battled well, and we got a hold of the game again.
“The penalty was a big help and we got it back to a one-point game and it was really game on then.
“We missed a few chances in that period as well and Armagh had the firepower to pull away and just keep them at arm’s length at the very end.”