When Mick Cooke left Monaghan United last season, it appeared as if the Mons’ chances of promotion had evaporated for the 2011 season.
This is why Roddy Collins is sure to have a broad smile on his face tonight when he leads his charges out against Dundalk for their first game back in the Premier League in ten years.
Cooke left behind a good squad but his exit was so badly timed that their chances of promotion appeared to be non-existent. That is why so many people questioned Collins when he took over the reins. But with three promotion places available, Collins led Monaghan to an unlikely leap to the Premier Division and there are more headlines to come this season.
The task is much bigger this season for Mons and they will struggle to compete. Roddy Collins has a rare ability to motivate people however and the players will do everything they can to avoid the drop straight back to the lower league. Apart from Keith Quinn who is suspended, Collins’ men go into the opening Airtricity League fixture at full strength knowing that they’ll need to hit the ground running or they could find themselves cut adrift very quickly.
There have been big changes in Dundalk with a new manager and a vastly-altered squad. Sean McCaffrey has been forced to bring in a lot of young players and the times of big names like Mark Quigley and Jason Byrne have gone for this year at least.
He has made some decent signings, such as Derek Foran from Sligo Rovers however and if they stay clear of injuries then they should avoid the relegation battle.