Belief in Monaghan shaken but they can bounce back
I have to say my faith in this Monaghan team has been shaken a little bit these last few weeks.
The Ulster semi-final defeat to Down caught me by surprise. It was a performance most unlike the Monaghan we've become accustomed to where they played with none of their trademark fire and were out-muscled by Down.
Throw their game against Carlow, where they were far from convincing, into the pot and the case against Monaghan gets stronger. They really struggled to make any inroads on Carlow's defensive system, which was a surprise considering the sort of game they play themselves. They really should have been better prepared for what they would face but it wasn't until very late in the day that they got the job done.
In some way being drawn to face Down again is the perfect draw for Malachy O'Rourke. It will focus Monaghan minds as they look for revenge.
Admittedly their record in Croke Park isn't great but I still think they should have the better, more experienced footballers though the question will be whether they can match the incredible hunger and intensity Down have brought to the championship so far.
It's a big ask to recover from the Ulster final defeat to Down but they only need to look at Galway for inspiration as to how to bounce back from a provincial final loss.
Still I think Monaghan had taken their eye off the ball last time and expect them to be fully focused this time around.