The draw for The 2011 Ulster Championship took place last week and Tyrone’s pairing with Monaghan in the first round will be a repeat of this year’s Ulster Final. Monaghan are now under new management with former county star and ex Louth boss Eamon Mc Eneaney now back in charge. I am sure there will be lots of other pressing issues concerning the Castleblaney man but I would be very surprised if he was not smiling to himself when the draw was made. He knows that the Monaghan players are better than they showed in that Provincial final back in July and this draw affords them an ideal opportunity to redeem themselves and their reputations. I am not a betting man but I would expect the team that lines out for the Farney County will differ considerably from the one that played in Clones in July. An interesting thought and a point of discussion is how much change if any will the Tyrone team from that day show when they begin their defence of their Ulster Title. The draw has thrown up one other really intriguing fixture that sees neighbours and rivals Armagh drawn against losing All Ireland finalists Down. This is another game that is sure to draw a large crowd and will be a good opportunity for both sides to set down a marker for the year.
Of course our minors will be going into 2011 as defending All Ireland Champions but under a new management team. There has been much speculation about who will be in charge of this group of players but at this stage there has still been no official appointment. However the smart money seems to be on Micky Donnelly of Aghaloo the present Ardboe manager. Whoever gets the job must realise that while there is a lot of talent within the county, moulding them into a winning team will require hard work and dedication and the occasional slice of luck as well.