Monday 18 December 2017

Monaghan star Conor McManus: 'It's no good just getting to the knockout stage, you want to make it count when you're there'

Conor McManus
Conor McManus
Conor McManus

PARTLY in jest though it may have been, Monaghan supporters chanted insistence that 'We want Sam' as they hoisted the Anglo-Celt Cup was reflective of a heightened responsibility now on the team to plough on.

"We have been to the last two and not gone any further," Conor McManus points out in relation to Monaghan's recent All-Ireland quarter-final struggles.

"We want to win our next game and it is down to us."

It's a fairly obvious and immediate step in the elevation of the Monaghan footballers, even if they'll be long remembered in the county for their two-in-three Ulster title successes, regardless of how they have, or will, fare outside the province.

A year ago, they arrived on the August Bank Holiday freshly beaten by Donegal and were caned by Dublin.


In 2013, the party had only just ended from their senior and minor Ulster triumphs by the time Tyrone caught them in the game that will forever be remembered for Seán Cavanagh's agricultural prevention of McManus from haring through on his team's goal.

"After winning in 2013 with Monaghan having waited so long there was probably an outburst of emotion in the whole county after finally getting over the line," McManus recalls.

"This time there was probably a level of expectation going into the game and especially going into the Ulster championship, people expected us to make a final but we couldn't look past any of our games.

"Being there and winning it, there was a sense of satisfaction because we had to give a big performance and we didn't do that in 2014 which was disappointing - from that point of view there was a sense of satisfaction.

"For some players that was a fifth final and to only win one of win would not be good enough. It's two of the last three now which is better.


"It's no good getting to them you want to make them count when you are there."

McManus is certain that "it hasn't anything to do with Croke Park," pointing to their League Division 3 and 2 final triumphs in successive years as evidence that GAA HQ has no preventative force on their winning ability.

"I wouldn't be overly disappointed to be honest," he notes of their record there.

"We have been there a fair bit over the last number of years with a division three and two final and we won both of them.

"We lost a quarter-final there in 2013 in a game we should have won. But I don't think Croke Park had anything to do with it.

"Last year it's well documented we didn't go so well. We beat Kildare and then played Dublin six days later we didn't perform that day things got away from us.

"We can only take it one step at a time, we are not looking at All-Irelands or semi-finals, we are looking at an All-Ireland quarter-final," states the Clontibret lad.

"It is much the same as we have approached it all year.

"The day is start looking ahead is the day you get caught," he adds, "so now we just focus on our own quarter-final."


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