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McManus is angered by claims Monaghan are overachieving


One of Ulster’s top footballers will embark on County Championship action tonight harbouring the hurt occasioned by what he feels is “unfair criticism”.

Conor McManus may be in line for a coveted All Star award following his prodigious scoring feats for Monaghan over the course of the summer, but suggestions that the Oriels have been punching above their weight has struck a discordant note with the Clontibret ace ahead of tonight’s Club Championship encounter against Latton.

“I honestly can’t see how anyone can say that Monaghan are punching above their weight when we have won two Ulster titles over this last few years and regularly been in the All-Ireland quarter-finals,” stated McManus.

“We reached the All-Ireland semi-finals this year and the general verdict is that we were unfortunate to lose to a good Tyrone side. I think to suggest that we have been punching above our weight is to do us an injustice — it is insensitive criticism.”

Just this week, McManus took delivery of the Pwc GAA/GPA Player of the Month award for July and he has now switched his focus to helping Clontibret capture the Monaghan crown.

He will be joined in their line-up by Vinny Corey, another seasoned county star, for what promises to be a tough encounter against Latton.

Tomorrow, holders Scotstown will meet Carrickmacross at Clontibret (6.15pm), while Ballybay will confront Magheracloone and Castleblayney will meet Inniskeen.

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In the Armagh Championship, Ballymacnab, who have won the league title, will be hoping for more success, and with Rory Grugan as their guiding light they will face Sarsfields tonight, while Crossmaglen Rangers will take on neighbours Silverbridge.

Magahery, who won the title in 2016, will face Killeavy, while Madden will take on Clan Eireann.

Club Championship hurling is on the menu in Antrim and Down.

St John’s hold a big lead over McQuillans (Ballycastle) from the first leg of their Antrim preliminary round tie and will be expected to progress when the sides meet in the second leg at Corrigan Park tomorrow (5.30pm).

And in Down, Ballygalet will take on Ballycran at Portaferry tomorrow in what should prove a lively tussle.

Ballygalget just managed to get the better of Portaferry in last year’s final (2-13 to 2-12) after extra-time and will not find it easy to retain their crown.

Both teams will parade a fusion of youth and experience for what should be a tense battle.

There is rarely much between the sides, although Ballygalget’s desire to retain their title and the form of Ben Toner, Brook Byrres and Cormac Coulter could get them over the line.

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