Monaghan United return to action after almost two weeks of inactivity for the first of two matches in four days as they take on Waterford United at the RSC tonight(7.45pm). A full-strength Monaghan will be seeking to extend their remarkable recent record against the Blues, having won the last six meetings between the teams.
- A win for Monaghan would lift them to within two points of Shelbourne at the top of the First Division table.
- Monaghan have defeated Waterford in their last 6 league meetings. The run commenced on Friday October 2009 when Monaghan won 2-0 away with goals from Brian Gartland and David Freeman. On 16 April 2010 United won 1-0 at Gortakeegan with Cathal O’Connor scoring. Monaghan then won 2-1 at the RSC on 9 July with two goals from Philip Hughes giving United victory. The fourth and most memorable Monaghan victory came on 1 October last year when Monaghan trailed 2-0 at Gortakeegan with 25 minutes remaining but scored four times – through Hughes (2), O’Connor and Sean Brennan – to win 4-2. Finally, in the play-off semi-final on 2 November 2010 at the RSC Monaghan won 3-1 with goals from Phillip Hughes (2) and Aidan Lynch.
- United kicked off this season and the Roddy Collins era with a 2-0 win over Waterford on 11 March at Gortakeegan with goals from Alan Byrne and John Reilly.
- Waterford’s last win in Monaghan came in 2000.
- After a poor start to the season, Waterford have now won 3 of their last 4 league matches and would move to within 2 points of United with victory tonight.
- Waterford’s last win over Monaghan was a 6-0 victory in April 2009. That was Waterford’s 14th home league match against Monaghan and was the last match in a 14 -game unbeaten record. Since then, Waterford have lost their 3 home matches as detailed above.
- Waterford are aiming to record successive home victories for the first time since they recorded 5 consecutive wins at the end of last season.
- Monaghan have conceded 9 of their 11 goals this season on their travels. Waterford, though, have only scored 3 goals at home this season.
Stephen Henderson (Waterford United):
[Speaking after the 3-0 win over Athlone Town last week] “The first series of games hasn’t went as well as we planned. Basically we had to put it behind us and more or less start our season today, that’s what we spoke about, and that’s what we tried to do. “[Conor Sinnott's substitution] was just a precaution, it was 3-0 when it happened, and that’s no disrespect to Athlone. We’ve a match on Thursday against Monaghan and with Gary Keane coming off as well, we just took the two boys off to make sure they were OK.”
Roddy Collins (Monaghan United):
“Now that we have completed our first round of games for the season I have a good understanding of where our side rates. I believe we did well in the opening series of games. Some might be disappointed at the points we leaked, but I like to look on the positive side and consider the points won, for example getting all three at Tolka Park. We are still close to the top, but no doubt the two teams ahead of us either Shelbourne or Cork City have to be most people’s favorites for automatic promotion. Our opponents this week Waterford United will most definitely be in contention for the Premier Division. Last season we were in the play-off against them, at this point it looks like something similar again this season.