Seamus Meehan hoping to be dancing to a different beat this time around

Seamus Meehan hoping to be dancing to a different beat this time around
On the Sunday evening after last years Ulster final Seamus Meehan and his wife Karen took a stroll into Monaghan Town.

On the Sunday evening after last years Ulster final Seamus Meehan and his wife Karen took a stroll into Monaghan Town.

The Monaghan Music Festival was on in the town and after watching his native Donegal - the reigning Ulster and All-Ireland champions - uncompromisingly dethroned by rank outsider Monaghan, Seamus was seeking comforting and soothing.

But being a former Donegal player, Seamus who has been domiciled in Monaghan for 25 years, had to face the music rather than derive any great solace or consolation from what was blasting out over the sound system.

“I got some slagging that night. It was all good banter but everyone I met were rubbing it in and really driving it home on how they had beaten the All-Ireland champions,” Seamus recalled this week.

“ This was little I could do or say, just take it on the chin. It was so unexpected. Donegal were the hot favourites and nobody gave Monaghan a chance. No one saw it coming not even many of those that were slagging me that night. It was a big upset.

“I remember being at the game and even thinking during the first half when things weren’t going well for us that it will be alright, The boys will turn it on any minute.

“We waited and waited. Even at half-time when we were 0-2 to 0-5 points down, I still thought we would come out in the second half all fired up.

“Everything will be alright in the second half, I remember thinking to myself at half-time.

“Jim will sort a few things out and we will overhaul Monaghan and pull away to win. But it didn’t happen and it was Monaghan that pulled away and won easy enough in the end.”

The Monaghan Music Festival is on again this weekend. And the former All-Ireland U-21 player with Donegal from 1992 - the first ever Donegal team to win an All-Ireland of any shape or form - along with his wife Karen, are planning on strolling back into Monaghan Town, again this Sunday evening.

And he is hoping that he will be dancing to a different beat this time around. He has a few boys he wants to meet.

But if he is to dance to a different beat this time around he also knows that Donegal are also going to have to move to a much better beat on St Tiernach’s Park, on Sunday afternoon.

“It all depends on which Donegal team turns up. Another performance like last year and we will be in trouble again. It is going to take something akin to our performances at the latter stages of 2012, if we are to be in with a chance of winning,” said the St McCartan’s College, teacher.

“Nothing less will be good enough. This is a good Monaghan team. They are all good footballers and following last years success they now have belief in themselves.

“Belief is something Malachy O’Rourke has brought to this team. Monaghan always has had good footballers. It was just that they lacked belief in themselves. Monaghan teams I have seen down the years since I came here 25 years ago had an inferiority complex about themselves. But this team are different.”

Six of the current Monaghan team - goalkeeper Rory Beggan, centre-half-back Vinny Corey, wing back Dessie Mone, midfielder Darren Hughes and his brother Kieran, the fullforward and Pauidie McKenna, who also plays in the forwards are all past pupils of St McCartans.

Players that Seamus would have put through his hands and coached right through their years at the famous Monaghan nursery.

“Them lads are all good footballers and then you add Conor McManus, who is a super forward, Paul Finlay, one of the best forwards in Ulster for years, the Wylie’s brothers, Colin Walshe, Fintan Kelly. They are all fabulous footballers.”

“The general feeling here in Monaghan is that they are a better team that they were this time last.

“But there is also feeling here too that they will face a different and much better Donegal that they did in last years final. I agree with that feeling too.

“Donegal seem to have everybody fit again. They have also blooded a number of new players and are better prepared than they were for last years final.

“They aren’t the raging hot favourites they were this time last year either and for that matter Monaghan aren’t the rank outsider they were last year either.

“It is a very even game this time around and there is little between the two teams. If Donegal have re-discovered the appetite and hunger they had in 2012 and play like they did in 2012, I give them a great chance. Anything less and they are going to be in trouble.

“It is going to take a big performance and a lot of effort to win and really at this stage it is a 50/50 game and can go either way.

“Hopefully, it will go Donegal’s way. I may be living in Monaghan for 25 years, but I’m still and Donegal man. You take the man out of Donegal but you will never take the Donegal out of the man.”

Either way Seamus and Karen are going to have to face the music on Sunday night in Monaghan Town.

And on Monday morning regardless how the game goes he is heading for Donegal Town for a few days holiday’s at home with his father and mother Danny and Betty Meehan.

Hopefully, Seamus the Anglo Celt Cup will be there before you Seamus.