By Shaun Casey
MONAGHAN suffered their first defeat of 2023 last weekend, and it was a heavy one with Mayo claiming a huge 27-point win. The Farney men have the chance to bounce back right away with a home clash against Roscommon and Niall Garland is confident they can do that.
“Mayo gave us a good clipping, but we still fancy ourselves,” said the Castleblayney hurler.
“At this level, if you lose your confidence and you don’t move on quickly and don’t address the situation, you’re going to get exposed if you don’t feel you’re up for the battle.
“We actually have a fairly decent record against Roscommon in home games, so we have nothing to fear. Every man is an inter-county athlete, realistically what sets people apart is their mindset so that’s the way I’d be looking at it.”
It’s all about learning lessons, no matter how harsh, and Garland insists Monaghan, who remain top of the Division 3A table heading into the final weekend of action, will learn from last weekend’s experience.
“When you’re playing a team like Mayo with the experience they have, they’re just getting their panel back and when you play against that talent, I think I’m right in saying they’ve been to Croke Park the last three years, when they get a run on you, they’ll go for the throat.
“That’s where we found ourselves in the first 20 minutes, we just didn’t get settled into the game quick enough.
“We had a wee mini period in the middle of the first half where we got a couple of points without reply but then their response was another goal.
“It’s a learning experience for us, we’re working through a certain style of play and Mayo showed good aggression and showed us how quick we need to be at that style of play. And if we’re not quick enough we’re going to get punished.
“You’d rather get that learning curve in the middle of the league than in a championship game that will affect your chances of getting to Croke Park or eliminating you.”
“That’s top-level sport, you can be brought back down to earth just as quick as you got on top but it’s a learning experience for us as a panel. There’s still a lot of good things happening within the team and our form is, bar Sunday, is still pretty good.
“We are getting a good structure in place, we’re happy with the system but the Mayo game, you could put yourself in awful bad form about it or we can look at what went well and what we need to improve on.
“Especially playing Roscommon now on Saturday, another supposed superpower of the division, how can we address those issues from the weekend and correct them on Saturday.
“That’s the beauty of it, there’d be nothing worse than having a break week now.
“We can dust ourselves down good and quick and get back at it and get back to where we were in the previous three games, please God,” he added.