A matter of months ago Monaghan’s Eoin Lennon thought that he had said goodbye to his chances of ever winning an Ulster senior football championship medal.
Recurring injuries had threatened his career and left him in a sporting limbo. But the strapping midfield ace immersed himself in a strenuous training regime during the early part of this year and finally won back his place in Seamus McEnaney’s side just as the real business end of the season was approaching.
Lennon is bracing himself for what he admits is the biggest test of his career against the Tyrone engine room of Kevin Hughes and Colm Cavanagh in Sunday’s Clones showdown.
“I am very relieved to be back even though my form is not as good as it should be,” says Lennon.
“I would hope to hit better form on Sunday — I’m delighted to be getting the chance to play in an Ulster final. We feel we did not do ourselves justice in the 2007 final against Tyrone when we fell a bit short on the day and now we have a huge chance to make up for that.”
And, like the rest of his colleagues, he is at pains to make it clear that actually reaching the Ulster decider is in no way regarded as any sort of reward by the Monaghan squad.
“No, that’s no consolation to us at all. Sunday is solely about winning the match — full stop. We will certainly not be distracted by the sense of occasion. We hope we have enough within us to triumph,” asserts Lennon.
And he believes that the new kids on the Monaghan block are currently lending a new dimension to the side alongside the old hands.
“We have guys like Darren Hughes, Conor McManus, Colin Walshe and Kieran Hughes in there alongside players like Dermot McArdle, Damien Freeman and myself who have been around for a while,” added the Latton clubman.
“These new lads have challenged the rest of us and we now have other players on the bench just itching for action.”