Monaghan manager Gregory McGonigle has hailed the impact of Seamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney as the Ulster champions prepare for Saturday’s TG4 All-Ireland Ladies senior football championship semi-final against Galway at Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan (4.0).
McEnaney, the former Monaghan and Meath senior football manager, joined McGonigle’s backroom team two weeks before last month’s provincial championship success.
McEnaney’s daughter Laura is a key player in the Monaghan set-up and McGonigle explained: “What Seamus has brought, as most people would assume that he would, is serious passion.
“He’s trying to raise our standards too and he’s been very positive for myself and Mickey (Morgan).
“The timing is right too – we’re eight or nine weeks in and at the business end of the season.
“From his point of view, he’s thoroughly enjoying working with the girls and while we’ve never had any problems with regards to attitude and respect for anyone training them, Seamus is trying to make things a bit more professional.”
With McEnaney taking more a hands-on role in training, McGonigle has found extra time for some of the more logistical elements of the job, such as scouting and researching future opponents.
The pair immediately agreed on a working relationship suitable to both and McGonigle added: “He’s happy enough to come in and be a selector.
“He didn’t say he needed to be over the team. He’s got a voice but the other two of us have a voice as well.
“It’s been all positive and if somebody said to pick a negative, I’d say no.
“I’d be talking to Seamus now for an hour a day rather than half an hour and he has some serious contact within sport, which have been a massive help.”
Meanwhile, McGonigle is anticipating a massive challenge from Connacht champions Galway.
Both sides showed ominous form in their respective quarter-finals as they amassed 6-41 between them.
Galway hit 2-20 against Tyrone and Monaghan racked up a massive 4-21 in their blitz of Laois.
McGonigle said: “Galway are strong all over the field, especially with Annette Clarke and Ger Conneally at midfield.
“Their forwards are very natural and defensively they’ll be strong as well, with Orla Dixon, Emer Flaherty at centre back and captain Sinead Burke.”
Galway boss Barry Downey believes that the team that beats Monaghan will win the Brendan Martin Cup.
And he’s confident that his Galway side is good enough to get back to an All-Ireland final for the first time since 2005.
Downey was particularly pleased with the clinical manner of Galway’s quarter-final victory over Tyrone, reflecting: “We had eleven different scorers and that’s always pleasing. We kicked some wides and that’s an area for improvement.”
Downey added: “I’ve made no secret of this all along – whoever beats Monaghan will win it. That still stands. We want to be the team that does it.
“Their workrate is phenomenal and anybody who watches them realises how ruthless they are. But while their forwards get all the praise, what has impressed me most about them is their backs, particularly the full-back line.
“The forwards are the ones who get the scores but look at how quick the move the ball and support each other on the shoulder all the time.
“They’ll be roaring hot favourites but I hope that we can ask them some questions.”