Monaghan priviledged to lead the Farney County

By Niall Gartland

MAEVE Monaghan says that the positivity is back in Monaghan ladies football after a couple of lean years at senior inter-county level.

Their team captain was delighted that they mustered a draw in their recent Division Two encounter against Donegal, a result that showed they’re on the right path under their manager Darren Greenan.

There have been wholesale changes on the personnel front with a batch of older players moving on in recent seasons, but on the plus side there is no shortage of younger talent coming through the ranks and Maeve is happy to help show them the ropes at senior level as they look ahead to another big league clash, a home tie against Cavan this Sunday at Clones.

On her role as captain, she said: “It’s unbelievable and I couldn’t believe it when I was asked.

“Growing up I looked up to all the previous captains like Cora Courtney and Ellen McCarron. Muireann Atkinson was captain for the last two years and she was another girl who showed a lot of leadership,” she added.

“It’s a massive responsibility and a big challenge, in previous years I listened to the older girls whereas now I’m in that position, so I’m mindful of it.

“I’m only 22 but I’m one of the older ones, there’s a lot of girls who are around the 19 age bracket, they haven’t been in the senior set-up that long so they’ve a lot to learn but they’re going well.”

The Oriel lost their first three league games but they were generally competitive and didn’t drop the heads. Their commitment was rewarded when they played out a draw against Donegal nearly a fortnight ago, a result that has really boosted their confidence.

“We were hoping to put up a fight against Donegal but we probably weren’t expecting a result. Before that we struggled a bit and worried about how things were going, but now we feel we’re ready to take on the likes of Cavan and Laois.”

This is still a relatively new team but they’re working hard on the training pitch on their deficiencies with a view to tightening up at the back.

“I think we were going okay in the forward line, our attacking play was good but we had a lot of work to do on our defensive structure, we were letting opposition players run through us too easily. We’ve had to work on simple things like communication and hopefully we’re getting there now.”

So instead of trepidation it’s with a sense of excitement that they’re approaching this Sunday’s contest against Cavan, especially as the game will be hosted by Clones.

“It’s a hugely important game for us and we’ve had no easy battles with Cavan over the years. They’re big rivals and in a similar position to ourselves in terms of having younger players.

“They’re some excellent players with a good mix of youth and experience but we’re looking forward to seeing how we get on.

“We’re also delighted to hear it’s in Clones as part of a double-header with the Monaghan men’s game. I went to school in Clones and I’m so proud to be playing there.”

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