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O'Rourke knows Monaghan must find extra gear in next round

Leitrim 0-9 Monaghan 1-19

Conor McCarthy
Conor McCarthy

By Colm Shalvey

Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke knows his team will have to improve on Saturday's showing in Carrick-on-Shannon after they booked their place in the final round of All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers with a straightforward win over Leitrim.

Conor McCarthy grabbed the only goal late on for Monaghan, who led from start to finish in glorious sunshine.

Monaghan opened the scoring within a minute through Conor McManus, but they took their time to get into their stride, with Jack Heslin causing problems for the visitors' defence.

A brace of points from Heslin and an Emlyn Mulligan free saw Leitrim keep the pace with Monaghan in the opening 15 minutes, with McCarthy and McManus on target for Malachy O'Rourke's side, who survived a couple of nervy moments in front of their own goal.

Points from Fintan Kelly, Karl O'Connell, Rory Beggan McCarthy and McManus saw Monaghan pull away during the second quarter with Leitrim's sole response coming from Ryan O'Rourke.

Colin Walshe, McManus and Beggan hit the only three points of the first 15 minutes of the second half as Monaghan saw their wides tally rise into double figures. O'Rourke and Heslin ended Leitrim's drought, but Ryan Wylie, Dessie Ward and subs Paudie McKenna and Jack McCarron pushed Monaghan further clear.

A flowing move saw McCarthy palm home his first inter-county SFC goal from an Owen Duffy pass and although Mulligan tapped over another free, McCarron replied to wrap up a 13-point win.

O'Rourke said: "Some parts of it were good, some parts weren't so good.

"We're under no illusions that we'll have to perform better next weekend. We have to improve big time, but if we feel if we can up our performance, we're capable of winning (in round 4)."

Scorers: Leitrim: E Mulligan 0-4f; J Heslin 0-3; R O'Rourke 0-2.

Monaghan: C McCarthy 1-3 (0-1f); C McManus 0-5 (3f); R Beggan (1f, 1 '45), J McCarron (2f), P McKenna 0-2 each; R Wylie, F Kelly, C Walshe, D Ward, K O'Connell 0-1 each.

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