Stunned McEneaney left struggling to take comfort from glorious defeat
He didn't waste any time, did Eamonn McEneaney.
“A glorious defeat is no good to anybody,” he said, “and we will certainly be taking no comfort from this, particularly given the circumstances that surround it.
“The reality of it is that we had the game won but we dropped back and gave it to them. They were able to come at us and get the scores.”
The most surprising thing about this game when all the Hollywood-style ending dies out and the credits roll, is the pattern of scoring. Both sides only hit 1-2 when playing into the Dalton Road end. McEneaney had his theory.
“I think the thing that people do not realise is that there was an awful strong wind blowing during the game and this did not make things easy for the players.
“It was certainly a factor in the game but it did not do us any harm in the first half when we were moving the ball well with players taking the chances when they presented themselves.”
He continued, “Even though Down came back at us strongly in the second half this does not get away from the fact that we had a plan in place and we should have been able to execute it. We should have been able to keep them out and stop them getting the scores.
“We always knew that the first 10 minutes of the second half were
going to be crucial and we needed to try and establish ourselves further in this period but we failed to do that and Down got stronger and stronger. They really showed how much they wanted it.”
This Monaghan group are experienced, but are they done now? Not for their footballing ability, because in the first half they looked as good as anything out there, but on an emotional level, how do they reconcile themselves with this defeat? “Unfortunately in football,” says McEneaney |(pictured), “you get days like these but in Monaghan they are probably too frequent.”
On the players themselves, he wasn't going to forsake them; “They gave serious commitment and I certainly cannot fault them on that score. They worked very hard and we played some great football which at times made us actually look like the division one team instead of the division three team which we are now.”
As a realist though, McEneaney knows that Monaghan are in division three, and now out of the Ulster Championship, heading into the twilight of the qualifiers.
“Unfortunately we will have to go away and absorb this defeat,” he said.
“I am not even thinking of the qualifiers at this point in time but no doubt when the time comes round we will be ready for the challenge.”
The day belonged to Down, but it's a shame that Monaghan had to lose to make it so.