Seamus McEnaney is adamant Monaghan’s Conor McManus is football’s best forward, which may not go down so well in Kerry or Dublin.
Wexford manager McEnaney, who managed his native Monaghan for six years and gave McManus his debut, will come up against his former player and the Farney in Saturday’s All-Ireland qualifier.
‘Banty’ managed Meath to a win over Monaghan in the 2012 league but has never plotted his county’s championship downfall.
The Corduff man described the Round 2B test as the most difficult Wexford could have got and he highlighted their attacking quality. McManus has finished at least sixth in the championship scoring stakes in the last three years, top scored for Monaghan in four of their last five league campaigns, and has already registered 2-13 this summer.
McEnaney also rates Jack McCarron, Conor McCarthy and Owen Duffy as excellent attacking options around the brilliant Clontibret player.
“The reality is Monaghan started very well against Down the last day, they just didn’t execute all their opportunities, but that’s still one of the best forward lines in the country with the best forward: Conor McManus. I would class him as the best forward in the country,” said McEnaney. “I’ve managed him, I’ve watched him, I know him well and over the period of the last three years he has been the best forward in the country.”
“I probably have managed 12 of their panel from my time in Monaghan,” he said of his former charges.
“People say maybe I have a benefit, but the reality is I was never looking at those players wondering how another team would beat them, we were always concentrating on beating the opposition.
“I would take myself out of this equation and say it’s the worst possible draw Wexford could have got. There’s a huge gap there between Division 1 and Division 4 and we’ve already seen what happened when Westmeath, who would have beaten us in the Division 4 final, went up against Dublin.”
McEnaney guided Wexford to promotion from Division 4 after five games, but they then lost four games, before beating Limerick in the qualifiers.
“The league was over for us when we won our first five games,” he said. “We were obviously very disappointed to lose to Carlow in the Leinster championship but we came into the summer prepared for Round 1 of the qualifiers either way.
“If we’d beaten Carlow, we’d have got Dublin and the loser of that game went into Round 1 anyway. I’m not being defeatist but you don’t beat the Dubs coming out of Division 4. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the pick of Leinster probably wouldn’t beat Dublin and it’s been that way for the last two or three years.
“So we were planning for Round 1 of the qualifiers and tapering training and everything towards that. We got Limerick and we were delighted to get over that but the standard goes up a fair bit now.”
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