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Monaghan preparing hot reception for McGonigle

Updated: Thursday, 30 Jan 2014 15:05 | Comments

Sharon Courtney insists Monaghan are ready to give former manager Gregory McGonigle a real test
Sharon Courtney insists Monaghan are ready to give former manager Gregory McGonigle a real test

Gregory McGonigle is preparing to lock horns with former charges Monaghan in next Sunday’s opening round of fixtures in the Tesco Homegrown Ladies National Football League.

McGonigle spent three years at the helm in Monaghan, guiding them to TG4 All-Ireland final appearances in 2011 and 2013, but the Derry native is now in charge of Leinster champions Dublin.

The fixtures computer handed McGonigle and Dublin a trip to Aughnamullen on Sunday in Division 1 and Monaghan’s star defender Sharon Courtney insists that there will be no room for sentiment.

Courtney insisted: "To be honest, it doesn’t bother us. He (McGonigle) gave us three good years – he stepped away, made his own decision.

"He owes us nothing and he’s free to do what he wants. It just so happens that he went to Dublin and the same happened a couple of years ago.

"Peter Clarke was involved with Gregory and he (Clarke) went to Dublin."

Gregory said at the time; "it’s one thing him knowing us but he doesn’t know how to stop us."

"I’ll just use his words – Gregory knows us but it’s a different thing knowing how to stop us."

Monaghan’s new manager is John Morrison and Courtney says that the Armagh man has made a big impact so far.

Morrison boasts vast experience of working with men’s senior intercounty teams – including Donegal, Derry, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Antrim. 

Courtney said: "(He's) completely different to anything we’ve ever had before. Any other year, at this time of year, it was running, running, running but this year it’s football, football, football. It’s completely different."

Courtney also insisted that Monaghan have flushed the bitter memories of last September’s All-Ireland final defeat to Cork from their systems.

She revealed: “I found it tougher the year before when they beat us in the semi-final because there was a gulf between us.

"I found it tougher to come back from that because I thought, what’s the point? I felt we weren't going to bridge that gap but we all came back and got to the All-Ireland.

"Now the girls started to realise – there was a point in it and if we change up a few things, we’re not that far away."

Elsewhere in the top flight on Sunday, League and All-Ireland champions Cork host Mayo, Laois are at home to Donegal and Tyrone make the trip to Munster champions Kerry.

The clash of Kildare and Galway is the stand-out tie in Division 2 and in Division 3, Tipperary legend John Leahy takes charge of his native county for the first time, when they visit Wexford.

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