Monaghan head into the lion’s den on Saturday evening, facing the ulster champions in their back yard.
However, this is year one! Year one of the new All-Ireland football championship, it’s all to learn about as the new champions begins.
What we’ve learnt so far is that Munster champions Kerry were floored by Mayo. Connacht champions Galway scored a three-point win over Tyrone.
However, you should note, Tyrone were down to 14 for the majority and the game was in Pearse stadium. One questions is there a provincial final hangover about?
“Focus will change, the boys will start looking forward to it!” Monaghan boss Vinnie Corey told Fergal Monaghan after the ulster semi-final defeat.
Little did Corey know the next game would be against the same opponents! Both teams coming out of the hat in group four.
Derry showed remarkable strength to lift the Anglo-celt cup. Not just in the face of some questionable Armagh tackling, but in the Rory Gallagher resignation story.
However, just 13 days have passed since that draining Ulster final. 90 full-on minutes and penalties. Will they recover in time from the match and the celebrations?
Although, in their last two games, they’ve shown they will not be put off their stride by any tactics. Its their own game alone and no other.
Monaghan, on the other hand have had four weeks to rest and recover. They followed up that great Houdini act in division one by dismissing Tyrone.
Conor McManus, Kieran Hughes and Conor Lennon are all due to start on the bench! The question in particular with McManus is how long he will last on it.
In Jack McCarron, Monaghan have a devastating forward, but the attacking unit relies on Dessie Ward’s inter-change play and that of foil Michael Bannigan.
Monaghan’s centre-field of Karl Gallagher and in particular Killian Lavelle will need to be on their day.
This game will come down to the forwards. Derry rarely missed a chance in the Ulster campaign. Monaghan can’t afford to miss on Saturday.