Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Monan is angered over Ulster final delay

Long wait: Gerard Monan won't face Antrim until November

Down hurling team boss Gerard Monan will take in Sunday's county Senior Championship final between Ballygalget and Portaferry still harbouring grave reservations about the decision to stage the Ulster Championship decider on November 3.

Monan's Down outfit will meet Antrim that day, but the match will come FOUR MONTHS after his team's semi-final win over Derry.

"You would have thought that a suitable date could be found before the month of November," states Monan.

"The weather is unlikely to be conducive to good hurling and obviously the whole focus will have moved from inter-county action by then. Right now players are all focused on activity with their clubs and for the Ulster final it will be like starting from scratch again in a sense."

It was in the immediate aftermath of the semi-final that, for a variety of reasons, the Ulster Council hit a problem in finding a suitable date for the final before the end of the summer.

"I know there were logistical reasons for this, but let's just say it's hard to whip up enthusiasm for a final in November," adds Monan.

While the provincial decider will go ahead at Celtic Park, Derry, it's at Ballycran on Sunday that Monan will run the rule over his players in the Down decider.

Ballygalget currently provide Eoin Clarke, Graham Clarke, Ben Toner, Gareth Johnson and Daniel Toner for the county team while Portaferry are represented by Matthew Conlon, Ciaran Coulter, Paul Braniff and Kevin McGarry.

Monan is particularly pleased that players from outside the Ards peninsula area are now making their pitch for places in his squad.

In their Ulster semi-final, Down were helped to victory by players like Fintan Conway (Kilclief), Donal Hughes (Bredagh) and Paul Sheehan (Newry Shamrocks.

"It's encouraging to see players coming from clubs outside the Ards peninsula," said Monan.

"This I think reflects the progress that hurling is making."

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