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Malachy O'Rourke is so keen to maintain Monaghan's momentum

By John Campbell

Derry, Donegal and Tyrone have all fallen to Monaghan in Division One of the Allianz Football League to date.

And with perhaps two of those three teams poised to make the drop into Division Two, domestic warfare has taken on added significance.

It is a measure of the new order pertaining in the province that Monaghan are seated comfortably in the top bracket while their fellow Ulster sides strive to cling on to their status.

Not so long ago teams meandered through the league while keeping their powder dry for the championship. Not any more.

Already Monaghan's form has shortened the odds on their prospects of landing the Ulster crown.

Malachy O'Rourke is keen to see his side claim what he regards as two significant scalps from beyond the provincial boundary.

On Sunday they will face Kerry in Tralee and a week later they are due to take on Dublin in Clones.

O'Rourke believes that dealing with challenges from outside Ulster will prove ideal preparation for the championship.

"We now have to challenge ourselves to win games against top teams from outside Ulster and I think everyone will agree that they come no bigger than Kerry and Dublin," observes O'Rourke.

"We have to go to a Kerry team coming off the back of a good win over Donegal while Dublin had a comprehensive win over Mayo."

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