Monaghan footballer David Garland would like to see an open draw and expects there to be shocks in this year’s club and All-Ireland championships.
BY SHANE STAPLETON
Monaghan’s David Garland believes that there could be huge shocks in club and inter-county championships this season.
The extended break from games due to Covid-19 means that teams are in uncharted waters approaching the delayed competitions of 2020.
Players and managers have no idea of form, match sharpness has gone out the window, and it remains to be seen how many injuries are picked up as teams recommence from a standing start.
“Come October and September, you’re going to be playing in winter conditions,” says Garland.
“The pitches could be heavy, the wind and the rain, freezing temperatures, you’re going to play the majority of your games under lights it looks like.
“So there are a lot of different factors, and it could produce some shocks along the way.”
Garland, who starred for DCU in the Sigerson Cup this year, is hoping to force his way into Seamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney’s starting fifteen and a good run with Donaghmoyne Fotenoys may be his best chance to do so.
“Exactly. Whenever you get back with the club, you have 11 weeks there to get up to standard and in October you want to be in the right place and flying with your club.
“You have the next few weeks to get back and shape and hit the ground running.
“I played with him first in 2018 in a league game against Donegal, I was inside with him,” Garland says of the prospect of playing alongside Conor McManus.
“The tips he gives you, to always be on the move, and watching him in training from any angle anywhere on the field, he’s so accurate and has so much distance.
“A serious player and a good fella on top of it — down to earth. Having to work with that quality, and learning off him, it’s a serious asset.”
Monaghan have been regular contenders for the Ulster title and lost to Tyrone narrowly in an All-Ireland semi-final just two years ago.
Banty will be looking to take the team another step this season, but the structure of the inter-county championship could yet play a huge part in what happens.
“I would love to see 32 names go into the hat and let’s go at it,” says Garland. “Knockout, knockout, and see what happens on the day.”
Even if that means drawing Dublin in the first around, he is asked with a smile.
“Ah yeah but, you might shock them at the same time.”
DCU DÉ’s David Garland today received his Electric Ireland GAA Higher Education Rising Star Football Player of the Year trophy. Garland was outstanding throughout DCU DÉ’s journey to Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup glory in 2020. The Monaghan forward scored a total of 1-14 across all games, finishing off with four magnificent points from play and a man of the match performance as he led DCU DÉ to victory in this year’s final over IT Carlow.