O'Rourke revels in Monaghan victory
Monaghan 2-16 Meath 3-8: Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke wore a broad smile after their Division Three league final victory over neighbours Meath, his side keeping the Royals scoreless for 20 minutes of the second half to assert their superiority.
Four points up at half-time, Monaghan shipped 1-2 in the first five minutes of the second half, but recovered impressively.
"That's what we were looking for because in all games and all seasons you are going to get a lot of setbacks and it's how you respond to what happens," said O'Rourke.
"Our main aim was to get promotion out of Division Three and we achieved that.
"Really, we wanted to test ourselves to see if we could come down here and win, that was more or less what we set out to do and we were glad we did it."
Modestly the manager deflected praise for a series of changes that worked brilliantly when he moved Darren Hughes to midfield and introduced Dessie Mone to the half-back line.
"The game was slipping away from us a wee bit and a few fresh legs coming in, a couple of changes worked out and that's just the way," said a delighted O'Rourke.
"Sometimes they don't work out and it is always a bit of a gamble but no, I am delighted with how the boys responded."
Kieran Hughes completed a fine individual performance with a goal and Darren Hughes' point made sure of the victory.
Monaghan now head to Casement Park on June 9 for the first round of the Ulster Championship, when they will take on Antrim.
MONAGHAN: R Beggan; K Duffy, D Wylie, F Kelly; D Hughes 0-1, N McAdam, C Walshe; O Lennon 0-2, D Clerkin; P Finlay 0-3 (2f), K Hughes 1-1, E Duffy 1-3; C McGuinness, C McManus 0-5 (1f), D Malone 0-1. Subs: S Gollogly for Malone (30m), D Mone for Clerkin (43m), P Donaghy for McGuinness (52m), V Corey for Wylie (58m).
MEATH: P O'Rourke; E Harrington, B Menton 0-1, C Young; C Lenehan 0-2, K Reilly, D Dalton 1-0; B Meade, C Gillespie; P Gilsenan 0-1, G Reilly, P Byrne; E Wallace 0-1, S Bray 1-1, M Newman 1-2 (1f). Subs: D Larkin for P Gilsenan (28m), A Tormey for G Reilly, S Kenny for Byrne (54m), B Dillon for Dalton (56m), B Farrell for Bray (67m).
Referee: Padraig O'Sullivan (Kerry).
• Limerick won their second division four league title in three years, when they beat Offaly in Saturday night's curtain-raiser. The Treatymen were victorious with a 0-16 to 0-14 scoreline.