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O'Rourke and McGleenan steeled for derby clash

By John Campbell

Enniskillen schoolteacher Malachy O'Rourke is poised to engage in what is expected to prove a fascinating meeting of minds with another member of his profession on Sunday.

Monaghan manager O'Rourke has already gained something of an edge in Division One of the Allianz League following his team's fine away win over Mayo but this does not necessarily inject him with abundant confidence for his side's confrontation with Mattie McGleenan's Cavan at the refurbished St Mary's Park, Castleblayney.

McGleenan, who is on the staff of St Patrick's GS, Armagh, made his managerial debut in the league when his side lost to reigning title-holders Dublin last Sunday.

Yet their robust defiance for the greater part of the game convinced him that better days could lie ahead.

The 14,000-strong capacity of the compact Castleblayney venue is expected to be tested to the full by a game that could provide a significant pointer as to just how the respective sides will fare in the league.

O'Rourke rendered fine service to Fermanagh as a player while McGleenan wore the jersey of his native Tyrone with distinction in the 90's and now both share centre-stage roles in what is the quintessential local derby.

What they share even more is a strong desire to go into the league break buttressed by some degree of comfort from their first two outings.

Yet O'Rourke quickly dispels the theory that his side enjoy any sort of head start in this respect.

"One thing you can say about Division One is that no match is ever a certainty," stresses O'Rourke.

"The game against Mayo was a tough opener for us but we got through it and now we must face a Cavan side who will be keen to pick up points.

"Obviously it's great to get momentum early in the league and that's what we hope to do.

"Cavan will share this desire and we know they will be very keen to get the points on Sunday."

McGleenan hailed his side's work-rate, passion and courage against the Dubs but acknowledges that a little naivety and some unforced errors detracted from their performance.

"I could not fault the boys for effort but there were things we could have done better. Still, I believe I have a great squad and I know they will be up for meeting Monaghan," he says.

"You want to be testing yourself against the best teams and Division One is where you do this," insists McGleenan.

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