With the new season just under two weeks away, Monaghan Town continue to step up preparations as they look for a positive start to their Monaghan Cavan League Premier Division campaign.
Here, we will take a closer look at the club as they look to build a successful club from senior right down to underage level.
Monaghan Town Football Club are a thriving amateur team based in Monaghan Town who play their home games in Belgium Park. The senior team compete in the Monaghan Cavan League, along with a selection of underage teams which compete in the Cavan Monaghan Underage League.
The club were founded in 2005, and currently the chairman is Gordan Forshaw.
The first team consists of a range of local players who all have had differing careers in the game. Peter McMahon, a recent signing, established a career both north and south of the border. Playing firstly in the Republic, the Monaghan man played with UCD, Drogheda United and Bohemians before playing in the North with clubs such as Portadown, Dungannon Swifts and most recently Glentoran.
There are also players who have had long distinguished careers at Belgium Park with Mark Kelly and Mark Mulhall both key mainstays of the team. Shane Loughran is another with technical ability and proved a very exciting player. Gary Hessin who has signed from Cootehill Harps is a major asset to the team along with Paul Smyth who had a glittering League of Ireland career.
The management team of Darren Smyth, Kevin Smyth, Jimmy Treanor and Alan Ballantine have all been preparing the side for the important opening fixtures, firstly away to Killymooney before home games against both Clones Town and Killylough.
Meanwhile Paul McHugh has been working with the reserve side as they also look for a positive start to league proceedings.
Capturing the Ulster Cup in 2011 was arguably the pinnacle of success for the club. Only Monaghan Town and Cootehill Harps have managed to triumph in the Ulster Junior Cup.
One of the more successful periods of the club honours-wise resulted in capturing the premier division three times in a row including the 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10 seasons. They most recently claimed the title back in the 2015/16 season. The Premier Cup was claimed in the 2016/17 season along with successes for the reserve sides, winning both Reserve Division in 2016/17, the Reserve Cup twice in 2017/18 and 2018/19.
Andy Capaldi Cup success was also achieved in the 2009/10 season as the Town continued their successes. The League Cup was conquered five times over the years, victorious in 2009/10, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16. Sean Woods and Co. Monaghan cup successes were also accomplished in the 2013/14 and 2009/10 seasons respectively.
Trophy accumulation hasn’t been the theme over recent years as the seniors look to build a competitive team again after a few seasons of transition, where the club lost as many as ten established first team players.
Juvenile development is central to the overall development of the club. The underage teams are helped by volunteers and coaches alike along with major contributions from both Gordon and Kathleen Forshaw.
There are competitive teams at u-12, u-14 and u15/16s level, with some very talented players being developed throughout the juvenile set-up. The club has had numerous players who have represented the CMUL Emerging Talent teams and Kennedy Cup teams.
Also, the underage structures have involved players who were victorious in the Ulster Community Games and have represented the county throughout different age-group levels. The now famous annual summer camp that takes place in Belgium Park continues to go from strength to strength.
This season has seen history in the making as Monaghan Town have had their very first girls’ team who are competing at U11 level. This has been off the back of the FAI Girls Football programme currently being implemented through great work by John Crudden and Thomas Heffernan. This is certainly a highlight in the club’s history and something which they hope to build on in the coming years.
If you would like to get involved as a volunteer, player or coach please get in touch with Kathleen at 086-061 3925.