There’s mixed injury news for Monaghan as they begin their countdown to the Ulster Senior Football Championship.
The Farney County only just missed out on making an Allianz Football League Division 1 final at Croke Park and their next match is a provincial preliminary round clash with Fermanagh on May 20 in Clones.
Conor McManus limped out of St Tiernach’s Park in their narrow defeat to Dublin at the start of April with a protective boot over what was feared to be a broken bone in his foot.
However, scans have revealed that the injury wasn't as serious as first feared and though he didn’t play in his club Clontibret’s league game against Scotstown on Saturday, Monaghan are hopeful of having the former All Star attacker fit for the Fermanagh game.
Manager Malachy O’Rourke does have injury worries over midfielder Darren Hughes though - he was taken off in that game playing for Scotstown.
It isn’t clear yet what injury he has, though there are fears that he might have suffered serious knee damage that will require surgery. Hughes is waiting on a scan to reveal the extent of the problem.
Monaghan face a tough task navigating their way through the Ulster championship, as traditionally it is virtually impossible to win from the preliminary round.
But they are in decent shape, injury problems aside. They finished mid table in Division 1 of the League with three wins and three draws, but were it not for a late goal from Dublin’s Jack McCaffrey they would have been in the League final.
In the past, an injury to McManus would have been seen as terminal to their chances, though youngster Jack McCarron has emerged as a real talent up front and he has taken much of the scoring burden off his team mate.
Saturday marked the first round of club league games in Monaghan as the players start a seven-week inter-county break between the League and Championship.