Dessie Mone: Malachy O'Rourke has Monaghan on the rise
Eight years in the vanguard of Monaghan's ongoing bid to gain recognition as a major football force have served to equip Dessie Mone with the necessary attributes to extend his longevity in the side.
But as he prepares for tomorrow's all-important Ulster championship quarter-final against Cavan, the 30-year-old all-action Clontibret clubman takes stock of what he feels is an increasingly important element of county players' routines.
"I think there has to be a greater emphasis on recovery periods following big games," stresses Mone.
"Take last weekend's game between Tyrone and Donegal.
"You had players from both teams complaining about sore, bruised bodies and that's totally understandable.
"When you think of the pace of the game nowadays, the hits that are put in, the phenomenal work-rate that is expected of players and the fact that most matches cover the best part of 75 minutes it becomes abundantly clear that recovery periods are absolutely vital in terms of players' value to a team."
Renowned for his personal fitness levels and utter dedication to Monaghan's cause, Mone sees tomorrow's game as a massive physical and psychological test.
"The Ulster Championship is a real furnace and you need to be in tip-top condition," he points out.
"We were happy to reach the semi-finals of the league last month where we were only beaten by a point by Dublin but that will count for nothing against this Cavan side who have a lot going for them."
Viewed in the past as an out and out defender, under manager Malachy O'Rourke Mone has evolved into an all-round player who links defence and attack, pilfers the occasional score and is unafraid to burgle 'dirty' ball.
"Since Malachy has come in, it has been a story of progression for us," states Mone.
"He has brought fresh ideas and some of us older players could maybe have decided to walk away but we stayed on and I am very happy about that."
Monaghan's ebullient approach to tomorrow's game is complemented by that of their opponents who are focused on bridging the 18-year Ulster title gap that gnaws at this football-mad county.
Manager Terry Hyland, in his fifth year in charge, has still to oversee a championship coup and is anxious to see that frustration morph into a wholehearted, spirited display tomorrow that could open a new door for Cavan.
"It's a local derby and I can't see there being anything more than a kick of the ball between the teams," declares Hyland.
CAVAN: C Gilsenan; J McLoughlin, R Dunne, R Flanagan: J McEnroe, F Flanagan, D O'Reilly ; T Corr, G McKiernan; D McVeety, M Argue, M Reilly; C Mackey, M Dunne, N McDermott.
MONAGHAN: R Beggan; D Mone, D Wylie, R Wylie; F Kelly, V Corey, K O'Connell; N McAdam, D Clerkin; O Duffy, P Finlay, D Hughes; D Malone, K Hughes, C McManus.