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O'Rourke's future is unclear after shock defeat

Monaghan 1-13 Longford 2-13

All quiet: Malachy O'Rourke wasn't making any rash decisions
All quiet: Malachy O'Rourke wasn't making any rash decisions

By Staff Reporter

Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke wasn't making any comment on his future or that of his players after they were dumped out of the Championship in a shock defeat against Longford in Clones on Saturday.

The two-time Ulster-winning manager said: "Now is not the time for making decisions or knee-jerk reactions when emotions are running high. I'm bitterly disappointed and deflated, but they are deserving winners."

Monaghan, the 2015 Ulster kings, became the latest scalp of qualifier specialists Longford, who had goals from Mickey Quinn and Robbie Smyth to thank for a famous away win.

Longford got off to a dream start as a pointed free from Smyth was followed by Quinn's goal and although a Conor McManus brace got Monaghan off the mark, James McGivney and Brian Kavanagh hit back.

Scores from Jack McCarron and Conor McCarthy were then cancelled out by Smyth before the Oriels enjoyed their only sustained period of dominance as they hit 1-5 without reply.

The points came from McCarthy (two), McCarron, McManus and Ryan McAnespie, while Colin Walshe claimed the goal after a McCarron shot had been saved.

That sent Monaghan in at half-time with a 1-9 to 1-6 lead, but Longford again flew out of the traps with Diarmuid Masterson and Brian Kavanagh points.

Monaghan had a long-range free from keeper Rory Beggan, while Masterson, McGivney, Kavanagh and Liam Connerton all kicked good points for Longford.

McCarthy and sub Shane Carey brought Monaghan level, but a third point by Masterson regained Longford's lead, and Smyth slid in their second goal.

Longford, who had Dónal McElligott black-carded on the half-hour, also lost Barry McKeon, but the Oriels could only add a McManus free.

Monaghan: R Beggan (0-1f); C Boyle, D Wylie, C Walshe (1-0); K O'Connell, V Corey, F Kelly; N McAdam, D Hughes; R McAnespie (0-1), T Kerr, D Malone; J McCarron (0-2), C McManus (Capt., 0-4, 3f), C McCarthy (0-4). Subs: S Carey (0-1) for Malone, O Duffy for O'Connell (both H-T), D Mone for Kerr (49), K Hughes for McCarron (55), S Gollogly for O Duffy (62).

Longford: P Collum; C Farrelly, B Gilleran, D Brady; D McElligott, D Masterson (0-3), P McGee; M Brady, D Gallagher; J McGivney (0-3), M Quinn (Capt., 1-0), B McKeon; R Smyth (1-3, 0-2f), B Kavanagh (0-3, 1f, 1 s-l), L Connerton (0-1). Subs: B O'Farrell for McGee (24), D Reynolds for McElligott (black card, 31), M Hughes for M Brady (H-T), R Connor for McKeon (black card, 59), B Farrell for Gallagher (64), S Hannon for Smyth (70).

Referee: C Branagan (Down)

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