1 Staying at the top
It’s so important for teams nowadays to firstly get to Division One and then stay there. The experience of playing the best teams and coming up against the best players week in week out is hugely important. In 2022, Monaghan once again pulled a Houdini act on the final day of the season and earned a huge victory to retain their spot in the top tier. It took a massive win in Clones to secure their place but not only that, they relegated Dublin to Division Two. Every year Monaghan start out as a favourite for relegation, but each and every season they can just about gather enough points to keep them safe. That will once again be a huge target for Vinny Corey, that Monaghan remain in the top tier.
2 Ending a 19-year wait
It’s hard to know how far up the list of 2022 highlights and achievements winning the McKenna Cup will be, but at the end of the day it’s still some silverware gathered by the Farney County. It was 19 years since Monaghan last won the McKenna Cup, back in 2003, and they ended that record last January, beating Donegal but the minimum of margins in the decider thanks to a decisive Dessie Ward goal. It capped a great run for Seamus McEnaney’s side that saw them build a streak of four games unbeaten. They drew with Derry in the group stages, and beat Fermanagh, while their semi-final with Armagh also ended all square, but Monaghan gained the upper hand after a penalty shootout before going on to defeat Donegal in the decider.
3 Vinny’s at the wheel
It wasn’t long ago that Vinny Corey was one of Monaghan’s most trusted soldiers in the trenches, but in 2023 he’ll be the one leading the troops into battle from the sideline. Monaghan seemed to struggle to fill the managerial hot-seat once Seamus McEnaney had stepped aside with a number of names rumoured to take over, including Dublin’s Jason Sherlock. But in the end, it was Clontibret legend Corey that was appointed Monaghan manager for the upcoming season. It looks like the Farney County may be entering a period of transition and Corey may look to bring in some youth into the team while retaining the services of the older statesmen in the form of Conor McManus and Darren Hughes.
4 Loss of senior status
Monaghan ladies suffered relegation from the Senior All-Ireland Championship after a 30-year stay at the top table. It’s disappointing for the Farney County, who featured in nine All-Ireland finals during that time and won the competition on two occasions, with back-to-back titles coming in 1996 and 1997. Monaghan experienced a difficult 2022 season, although they did reach the Division Two league semi-finals but lost out to eventual winners Kerry by three. They then finished bottom of the championship group due to defeats against Meath and Armagh and ended up in a relegation playoff against Waterford. Monaghan lost out heavily in the end, with 15 points the difference at full time and 2023 will offer a chance to rebuild the team for the future.
5 Corduff’s Ulster charge
While Seamus McEnaney’s men may not have got the end they wanted, what a season it has been for Corduff. They’ve been flirting with relegation to Junior football for the last two years but Banty’s return to the hot-seat saw a massive turnaround in their fortunes. They claimed an Intermediate double in Monaghan, league and championship before embarking on a memorable run in Ulster that guided them to the final. While they eventually lost out to a strong Galbally side that were the favourites from the start, the Monaghan men will certainly hold their heads up high and 2022 will be remembered for a long time around Corduff. Ballybay also had a magnificent season, winning the senior championship in style and claiming a memorable win over Crossmaglen in Ulster.
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