HOPE rather than expectation is Monaghan manager Vinny Corey’s approach to his side’s increasing injury list.
The versatile Ryan McAnespie was ruled out of Sunday’s home loss to Kerry and then half-forward Micheal Bannigan felt a problem in the warm-up so he too sat out the match in Clones.
Corey wasn’t optimistic about getting players back for the trip to high-flyers Derry, even with a fortnight between the games:
“It just seems every day we are losing another person. Micheal Bannigan was flying and then he tightened up in the warm-up so we are losing key men all the time.
“We are hoping we get a few of them back in the next few weeks but the way we are going I wouldn’t like to make a prediction on it.”
After starting with a win away to Dublin on the opening weekend, the extra absentees definitely contributed to Monaghan’s defeat by Kerry. The Kingdom broke through on a few occasions and finished up with three goals in a nine-point win, 3-15 to 1-12.
The Monaghan defence is much-changed, however, with Killian Lavelle re-purposed at full back in the absence of Conor Boyle, and Corey was understanding that the new-look rearguard would take time to settle:
“We’re missing probably an entire half-back line there at the minute - Ryan McAnespie, Dessie Ward and Conor McCarthy – so you’re trying different boys there and when lads are playing for the first time there will always be the odd gap. We’ll keep trying them out and see what we have come the summer.”
Before then, though, Monaghan will have to battle on, although Corey insisted he never expected anything easy in Division One:
“We knew it was going to be a tough league. Our first four games, three of them are away, so it is always tough.
“There is no soft landing in Division One, especially this year, and you are playing a lot of teams that have their full teams at the minute. Derry is one of them but, listen, that gives us another chance to look at our boys.”