Finlay fears for Farney’s proud record

By Shaun Casey

MONAGHAN are the masters of survival and for the last ten seasons they’ve plied their trade in Division One but with two games remaining in the league, the Farney men are hanging onto their top tier status by their fingertips.

They currently rest at the bottom of the table having lost their last four games following an opening round win over Dublin. Monaghan make the trek to Omagh on Saturday knowing a defeat would see them drop out of Division One for the first time since 2014.

Former Monaghan playmaker Paul Finlay feels Vinny Corey’s side is really up against it, although he wouldn’t completely write them off just yet. “This is the tenth year that Monaghan have been in Division One,” says the Ballybay clubman who won two Ulster Championships with Monaghan in 2013 and 2015.

“They’ve had so many close calls and so many near misses with making the drop to Division Two that this is no different for Monaghan and it’s something that we’ve become accustomed to.

“I think this year is slightly different in that there’s a lot going on within the camp and it certainly looks like a really difficult ask from where I’m sitting for Monaghan to go and get a result in Healy Park this weekend.

“Just with the injuries they’ve had, with some of the absentees for various reasons, and a bit of bad luck in some matches, they just find themselves in a really difficult spot now and it’s one I feel that they’re going to get it hard to dig themselves out of.

“But I wouldn’t write them off either in coming up with a really big performance this weekend. They may feel that this is the last throw of the dice, and they can throw caution to the wind.

“It will be an interesting battle; I don’t think Tyrone are firing on all cylinders just yet either so that’s what leaves it that wee bit more interesting as we look forward to it.”

With Monaghan’s championship opener against Cavan in the Ulster preliminary round less than a month away, on April 7, Finlay suggests that Monaghan could be hampered in terms of rushing players back from injury with the fear of missing out in a few weeks’ time.

“Vinny Corey is living on his nerves I’d say at this stage with regards to more injuries cropping up,” added Finlay. “I think he’s going to be ultra careful with anybody who’s on the edge of coming back at all.

“He’s going to have to be careful and make sure these guys are ready to go (in the championship). It was literally every other night there that somebody was pulling up with a soft tissue injury so that’s another fear for Monaghan.

“And that preliminary round of the Ulster Championship with the winners of Monaghan-Cavan to play Tyrone after that, it’s just sitting there nicely for Tyrone to possibly pull a performance out of sorts this weekend and get the win.”

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