Greenan hopeful about the road ahead with Monaghan

By Niall Gartland

TRANSITION can be a scary word but new Monaghan boss Darren Greenan knows first-hand that there’s plenty of talent in the current senior set-up, even if it may take some time to manifest itself.

The first game of his tenure ended in defeat as they fell to a narrow 1-6 to 0-5 loss to last year’s Intermediate champions Kildare last weekend, but there were promising signs across the hour even if they struggled to punch holes in the Lilywhites’ blanket defence.

They host Westmeath in their second Division Two encounter this weekend, and while it’s a new management regime at the Monaghan helm, Greenan knows his team virtually inside out.

He has managed the county’s underage teams right through from u-13 to minor level in recent times and it’s been a fruitful period that has included an All-Ireland minor B title in 2022 and an Ulster minor A title last year.

Greenan, a native of the county, said: “I’ve been working with underage groups in the county consistently for the last seven or eight years so I’ve brought these girls all the way through to senior ranks, so I suppose it’s a natural progression for myself.

“We did well and our new captain and vice-captains were minors in 2019, namely captain Maeve Monaghan from Eire Óg, Jennifer Duffy and Amy Garland.”

He continued: “We have lost a lot of the household games in recent years and Monaghan’s two most experienced players from last year are gone – Muireann Atkinson was captain last year and she’s gone to the AFWL while Rosemary Courtney, the youngest of the Courtney sisters, has gone to Australia for a year.

“But these girls coming through are the future and I’ve brought with me Aidy Little as coach, we know each other well as he was with me at Laragh in Cavan in the last couple of years.”

Their round one league encounter against newly promoted Kildare was played in stormy conditions but Greenan doesn’t use that as an excuse for their four-point defeat.

Instead he believes that the game was played on Kildare’s terms as they diligently held onto their lead in the second half, but he believes that they’ll be able to learn from the experience as they look ahead to taking on a Westmeath side that came out second best to Tyrone in their own first-round league match.

“The wind and rain was coming directly across the field so it didn’t really favour either team, it was a real war of attrition. They got the goal early on and in the second half they really closed the shutters on us and we couldn’t break them down.

“They got 15 behind the ball for a long time, they’re very disciplined in their defensive set-up and because we’re a new group, we probably weren’t able to problem solve that on the field. But it’s definitely something we’ll have to work on as that’s just the way teams set up these days.”

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