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There's still plenty to work on, says O'Rourke

By Declan Bogue

Published 06/06/2016

Fighting talk: Malachy O’Rourke wants more from his side
Fighting talk: Malachy O’Rourke wants more from his side

If you are looking for a man to wax lyrical in the immediate aftermath of a game, Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke is not your man.

Through winning two of the last three Ulster titles, all contested in the final against no less an opponent than Donegal, the Derrylin native has managed to remain underrated and ultimately unknowable.

Asked about the Oriel county's slack first half, he isn't one for latching onto a negative or overstating things.

"The breeze was a bit stronger than you might realise sitting in the stand that day but it took us a wee while to get going," he said. "We were just giving Down a bit too much time on the ball all round the field. Our defence just wasn't as tight as we would have liked it. But I thought, particularly after half time we did better on their kickouts."

Asked would he take more out of the fractured performance of the first half, or the coasting Champagne football of the second half, he answers: "A lot of the stuff in the first half we wouldn't have been happy with so we have lots to work on.

"Once we got six or seven points up and had a bit of a breeze behind us, Down, I'm not saying they threw in the towel but it got increasingly hard for them.

"I don't think we can read too much into it as the game went on."

In the past, this Monaghan side have faced criticism for not scoring enough goals. They grabbed two here and might have had another when Dick Clerkin's late bullet went over, rather than under the bar.

On creating those kind of chances, the St Joseph's schoolteacher said: "We are working on it all the time. We will take the victory and the next day out between Donegal or Fermanagh will be totally different."

The next day will be a semi-final against the winners of Donegal-Fermanagh next Sunday in Ballybofey. Asked to call it, he retorted, "I have not a clue to be honest with you."

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