McEneaney expects Monaghan to “come out fighting”

By Shaun Casey

FOLLOWING a ten-point drubbing at the hands of Kerry in the opening round of the All-Ireland series, former Monaghan player and manager Eamonn McEneaney expects the Farney County to “come out fighting” against Louth this weekend.

McEneaney knows better than most how the build up to this one will go, having managed both counties at the highest level and both teams head into the game in very different headspaces.

After pushing Dublin all the way in the Leinster final, Louth beat Meath convincingly last weekend to continue their upward trajectory. Monaghan, on the other hand, haven’t won a game since the opening round of the league, against the Dubs.

“You’d have to be realistic and say that Louth are on the crest of a wave at the minute,” said McEneaney, who managed the Wee County for three seasons, 2006-2009.

“They ran Dublin close in a Leinster final, although they never really looked like winning it. They were impressive in the league, and they definitely were very impressive against Meath.

“They shut Meath down and kept them to nine points. If you contrast that with Monaghan’s first-half performance against Kerry, I’d say that Monaghan players and management were very disappointed with their showing that day.

“They let Kerry run through them without an awful lot of contact but the great thing about Monaghan is their resilience and over the years that has shone through. Their pride has been stung and I would expect them to come out fighting on Sunday.

“It’s a local derby and it’s a while since Louth beat Monaghan so I would expect that they’ll be up for this one and they’ll see it as a chance for redemption. They’ve lost a good few matches in a row, but it’s at home, it’s in Clones. They’re not going to get a better opportunity of saving face in a season where things haven’t gone well.”

While Monaghan suffered a tough defeat to the Kingdom the last day out, McEneaney hopes that Vinny Corey’s men can take the positives and bring a different mentality to Clones this Sunday afternoon.

Despite trailing by 13 points at the interval, Monaghan did turn things around against Jack O’Connor’s side to actually win the second half, with the help of a Gary Mohan goal, and their defensive structure showed a major improvement.

“This is a do or die game for Monaghan because you mightn’t get a win against Meath in the last game. It’s more about the momentum you make from beating Louth, that you turn your season around and go into the Meath match on the back of a win,” added McEneaney.

“I think Monaghan will come out strong in this game. I think they will show a lot more than they showed against Kerry. They certainly need to be tighter, and they need to keep things more compact at the back.

“Louth will do that, they have perfected that this year under Ger Brennan. ey make it very difficult for teams to break them down. That’s something that Monaghan need to bring to the table.

“Monaghan were always hard to break down over the last number of years, but whatever reason, that didn’t happen against Kerry. I would expect they’ll have looked at that and be hurt by the fact that they didn’t do it. I would expect that they’ll come out this Sunday and really tighten things up and have a real cut at it.

“They are very proud players and they won’t want the Kerry performance to be the hallmark of their season and I have no doubt that Vinny got them in at half time and told them it was not acceptable.”

Like Corey, McEnaney saw those positives in the second half last time out.

“They certainly did win the second half and their performance was much better. There was a lot more contact and there was a lot more movement going forward and they knew in their heart of hearts that the game was over.

“They showed pride in the jersey, and they showed that they are capable of playing at a higher level.

“The majority of this team played in the All-Ireland semi-final last year and if they weren’t playing, they were on that panel.

“They know that they have the capability of being better than where they’re at. Sometimes all it takes is the one win to turn that around.”

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