MONAGHAN MANAGER MALACHY O’Rourke has relayed his fears that the restructuring of the All-Ireland football Championship has made it doubly difficult for teams with the lack of recovery time between games.
Both themselves and Tyrone have played eight games in eleven weeks since they met in the Ulster quarter-final on May 20th, with just a week to get ready for a semi-final following the concluding round of Super 8s games.
“I think it is. I think when you are preparing for an All-Ireland semi-final and when the other teams are the same,” said the native of Fermanagh.
“For Monaghan’s case, to wait thirty years to get to an All-Ireland semi-final and you saw the scenes after it, it would be nice for the supporters and the players to sit back and take it all in, to have plenty of time to recover and then plan ahead,” he said.
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“So a week is very tight, but we are not complaining. We are delighted to be in the position we are in, we would gladly have taken it earlier on in the year so we will just make the best of it.”
The chequered history of these two neighbours has rendered the narrative surrounding this game that Tyrone have a distinct psychological edge, having beaten them in Croke Park quarter-finals in 2013 and 2015.
O’Rourke responds that their wins over Tyrone in the 2014 and 2018 Ulster Championship evens up that score.
“We can’t do anything about that or worry about that. One thing I do know is that people say Tyrone are Monaghan’s bogey team,” said O’Rourke at a press briefing at the Entekra Monaghan GAA Centre of Excellence.
“I was just looking the other night, since we’ve been here since 2013 on, we’ve played Tyrone four times in the Championship and both of us have won two games each.
“We’ve played three times in the National League, we’ve won twice and they’ve won once. There’s been nothing between the teams, so we don’t see Tyrone as our bogey team in any way. We know they’re a really tough team, a really good team and all the games are nip and tuck. You’re right that they’ve beaten us twice in Croke Park, so that’s another challenge we face.”
Monaghan can also point to their convincing league win this year in Castleblayney, when they left Conor McManus on the bench until the 48th minute.
They have a clean bill of health going into this weekend with Kieran Hughes making good progress in his ongoing recovery from a hamstring strain.
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