McManus is relishing chance to upset Dubs
Conor McManus thought that after spending several months 'managing' a hip problem as he played his part in bringing Monaghan into Division One of the Allianz League, he had endured sufficient discomfort for one season.
But when he subsequently suffered ankle and knee injuries and then was struck down by a bug in the days leading up to the Ulster decider, he was convinced that fate had conspired to leave his championship season in ruins.
He recovered just in time to face a Donegal side whose hunger and commitment saw them overturn last year's final defeat to the Farney County and so regain the Anglo Celt Cup which they held in 2011 and 2012.
Sharpshooter McManus, who formerly played for UUJ and was in the side that was beaten by UCC (0-10 to 0-7) in the 2011 Sigerson Cup final, was back on song in the qualifier win over Kildare last Saturday and is now straining at the leash to face Dublin tonight.
His five points from frees helped end Kildare's championship season and as he prepares for what will be a first championship meeting between Monaghan and Dublin, he shares the positivity that currently permeates the Farney camp.
"At least it cannot be said that we have any championship baggage going in against Dublin," smiles McManus.
"Obviously we know that they are hot favourites but we can live with that. We will just focus on our own game."
It's to McManus, whose stamina was tested in extra-time last weekend, who Monaghan will look to in the main to both create and take score chances in front of 60,000-plus fans tonight.