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Monday 16 October 2017

Dubs are not yet in Monaghan's crosshairs

THE lure or otherwise of taking on Dublin in an All-Ireland quarter-final is not a line of motivational thinking Monaghan are pursuing just now, according to Darren Hughes.

The Farney county begin the rehabilitation part of the concession of their Ulster title to Donegal against Kildare in Croke Park on Saturday evening knowing that a win would set up a clash with the All-Ireland Champions.

Thinking not entirely conducive to keeping their eyes on the ball for Kildare, says their wing-forward.

"It's not something we can look towards because you do that you'll be up the road on Saturday evening saying 'what could have been'.

"We can only look at Kildare. We know they're no bad team, they beat us convincingly in the last 12 in 2010, we can't look by Kildare because you will get caught on the hop."

The counties have a choppy recent history.

brawl

A brawl broke out at half-time in a League game between the two in Clones in February 2012, involving roughly 20 players and leading to the sending off of Brian Flanagan before the start of the second half.

A subsequent CCCC investigation ruled that both counties be fined €5,000 and warned about their future conduct.

Monaghan's fine was subsequently lifted on appeal but they lost home advantage for their next game against Louth.

Yet in a further twist, the Disputes Resolution Authority moved the game back to Clones and referred the case back to the CHC, who then ruled that Monaghan play their next home match - against Galway - in Pearse Park, Longford.

"That was completely hyped-up," says Hughes now.

"Only that game was on TV there'd have been nothing said about it.

"We lost a home game over that incident before half-time and I haven't seen a team lose a home game since.

"Only it was on TV there wouldn't have been anything said or done about it."

Of the current Kildare side, Hughes stated: "They didn't play well against Meath in the semi-final but they got a run together in the backdoor again for the umpteenth year.

"They have great players. Good forwards and Emmet Bolton and those boys in the defence.

"Great players sprinkled all over the field, they're strong in midfield and they have scoring forwards.

"They're no bad team and they'll thrive in the big spaces of Croke Park.

"And we know we'll be up against it and we'll prepare ourselves as best possible," Hughes concluded.

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