McEnaney’s big enough to make the tough calls
Monaghan manager Seamus McEnaney may be comparatively small in stature, but he is big in courage. And when it came to making a huge call that he felt might influence his team’s arrival in the Ulster football Championship semi-final he was not afraid to grasp the nettle.
The deployment of Darren Hughes as goalkeeper, the late call-up for Eoin Lennon in midfield and the switch of John Paul Mone to full-back could have left McEnaney with egg all over his face — instead, today he is not only a local hero, but a national threat, given that no side with All Ireland title ambitions will fancy meeting his charges.
And in typically robust fashion the effervescent McEnaney defended his decision — not that it required much defending — after the game.
“Any decision I have ever taken in my time as manager has been taken with the best interests of Monaghan football at heart,” said McEnaney.
“When there are big calls to be taken they have to be faced up to. On this occasion it worked exceptionally well for us — Darren Hughes was very good in goal, Eoin Lennon was outstanding in the middle of the field and J P Mone did a great job at full-back.
“Every single player in this Monaghan squad knows that whatever we have to do to win a game I will make that decision.”
The Farney boss confirmed that the major surgery on his team had been undertaken on Saturday night, but was only put into the public domain immediately prior to the throw-in yesterday. And he refused to confirm or deny that substitute goalkeeper Sean Gorman, who was surprisingly overlooked in the shake-up, had left the squad.
“Anything that happens within this team stays there,” rapped McEnaney, “That’s the way we conduct our business.”
And when queried about first-choice custodian Shane Duffy being available for the semi-final McEnaney responded: “We expect him to be available, but like every other Monaghan player he will have a fight on his hands for his place.”
McEnaney’s assistant Paul Grimley, the former Armagh No 2, hailed the Monaghan side’s application, spirit and skill.
“Ever since I stepped through the Monaghan door I have been impressed with the players’ attitude and enthusiasm,” he said.
“They give great effort, but the important thing now is that we build on this win. We knew Armagh would be difficult opponents, but we’re surprised by our margin of victory”.
Top scorer Paul Finlay was at pains to play down the post-match euphoria.
“All we have done is win a game to get us into a semi-final and that will certainly be another day’s work for us. We would not be looking any further than that.”
l The venues for the semi-finals have been confirmed. If it's Fermanagh against Monaghan the game will be in Breffni Park while a Cavan v Monaghan game will be at Clones.
The Tyrone v Down semi final clash will be played at Casement Park.