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Malachy O'Rourke could turn to McCarthy to boost his firepower

 

By John Campbell

The composition of the Monaghan full-forward line for Saturday's All-Ireland Round 4B qualifier against Down at Croke Park will be awaited with particular interest.

Malachy O'Rourke's side struggled to put scores on the board in their most recent outing against Carlow before they scrambled to a 1-12 to 1-7 victory with Fintan Kelly's goal proving key.

Now, O'Rourke has been left to ponder options that are open to him before he confirms his team within the next 24 hours.

And he might well be tempted to hand a starting berth to Conor McCarthy, who showed impressive form after being introduced from the bench in the handsome 3-23 to 1-11 win over Wexford before the team's much more fraught encounter against Carlow.

In the latter game the much-vaunted Oriels starting full-forward line of Owen Duffy, Jack McCarron and Conor McManus scored just one point from play between them against what was a Division Four defence that had been expected to capitulate.

McCarthy has shown that he can provide some bite and, more importantly, a degree of accuracy up front.

In admitting that his team did not make the most of their chances against Carlow, O'Rourke pinpoints what was a glaring failure on that occasion.

"I thought we worked hard but we just did not use the ball as well as we would have liked," he conceded. "In the end, though, I thought we showed great character."

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