Monaghan are looking to put in place the structures for long-term success, according to team veteran Dick Clerkin.
Speaking on RTÉ 2FM’s Game On, Clerkin agreed that the Farney men's progress was in line with the plans laid out at the beginning of the year and said that the county had ambitious longer-term targets.
“At this stage the word ‘ambition’ is used very strongly within the group, and within Monaghan in general,” Clerkin said. “And ambition looks further down the line than just one game, or one year, or one season.
“There’s a young panel coming in, even though some of the older fellas are still hanging around to try and support it. There’s a very strong and ambitious young panel that want to build toward a future.
“And that’s building on last year, y’know, you had the minor and Ulster [senior] successes, but you can see [...] with the club successes on a national stage as well, the county are working very hard to build [and] to set ourselves up.
“You’re sort of looking at the likes of Tyrone, who invested very heavily at under-age and [in] structures, and that set them up for the long term. That’s what we want to get.”
"Ambition looks further down the line than just one game, or one year, or one season" - Dick Clerkin
Clerkin said there was a “nice balance” of youth and experience in the Monaghan squad, and that this year’s was the most competitive panel in “a long while”.
“You have a nucleus of players, the likes of Darren Hughes and his brother Kieran, Colin Walshe, Drew Wylie, who are sort of now the core of this team, as opposed to maybe myself, Eoin Lennon and Paul Finlay, that would have been about a long time; and they’ve got a good four or five years solid experience behind them.
“And they’re being backed either side by young lads coming through from minor and under-21 grade, and then the older generation. So we’ve a nice spread of experience and youth coming through the panel.”
Looking ahead to the Allianz FL Division 2 clash with Galway on Sunday, Clerkin admitted that Monaghan were in a strong position on nine points, but that they needed to focus if they were to guarantee promotion to Division One.
“Galway are going to be fighting for their lives, they’re in a relegation battle, and after putting in a good performance last weekend [in beating Armagh], they’ll be buoyed to carry on a wee bit of momentum, so we can’t count on anything.
“It’s not beyond the realms of possibility things will go against us, so we have to be focused and try and get over the line.”