By Kieran Lynch
LAST year’s beaten finalists in the Monaghan Senior Championship, Truagh are hoping to go one better this year, and after their performances in 2021, Chairperson Kieran McKenna says that now ‘expectations are higher.’
They got their championship campaign off to a winning start, as they defeated Carrickmacross 0-10 to 0-7 on Sunday, and McKenna explained the importance of opening with a win.
“After reaching the county final last year the expectations were always going to be high from within the club and from outside the club,” he explained.
“The players and management will have been aware of this, and so a win was important to build some confidence and to see how we are working as a team. The group stage is going to be tough, and no team can afford to be playing catch up, so we were happy to get points on the board.”
Truagh are hoping to progress from their group, which pits them against Carrickmacross, Castleblayney, Inniskeen and Latton, and a win this weekend over ‘Blayney, who have lost their opening two matches, will go a long way towards helping them progress.
“There have already been a couple of unexpected results in this year’s championship and every club in both groups will have calculated where they might win enough points to get them into the qualifying stage,” detailed McKenna.
“We just need to take one game at a time and hope to do enough to get the win. A team that has lost a game will be harder to beat in their second game because they will realise the importance of it, so we will be going into each game respecting the opposition, but with the belief that we can win.
“Castleblayney historically have always been a great championship team and their record in Monaghan is unequalled.
“They are playing at home and have a number of young exciting players in Niall Rice, Conor Ruddy and Josh Walsh, who all have county Minor winners medals.
“Add former county Senior player, Dermot Malone and the recent introduction of Eamon McEnaney to the management staff – I expect, like last weekend against Carrickmacross, that we will not have it all our own way. We did beat Castleblayney earlier this year in the league, but I expect that this will be a closer encounter.”
Truagh have benefitted from a balance of quality throughout the squad with the solid Aidan Coyle and John McCarron in defence, and Oran Mc Elligott, Christopher McKenna and the veteran Colm McRory are livewires up front. Minor All-Star Ronan Boyle and Ryan Mohan have been consistent throughout the year, and in their championship win last weekend against Carrickmacross, Adam Treanor was influential as was Gary Mohan after a late introduction.
Having been so close to winning a county title last year, McKenna said that the hunger is evident in the squad, and if they keep their attitude and mindset right, they might just be able to get over the line this time around.
“There is good belief within the squad that they have the potential to do well, and the hunger is very much still there,” he told Gaelic Life.
“Some of our absentees and injured players were back last weekend and have been working hard to be available and fit. They’re a very focused group of players and our management team of Pascal [Canavan], John [McElholm] and Keith [Sheerin] have said that the attitude of the players is as good as they have seen.”