Michael Murphy was disappointed his side couldn’t cement their comeback in yesterday’s Allianz League Division Two final.
The Donegal captain, who scored 1-4, played his part in an improved start to the second half as the scores were levelled thanks to a Murphy penalty. However, Monaghan finished much the stronger against Donegal’s 14 men after Rory Kavanagh was given a straight red card.
“It’s a disappointing result,” Murphy said. “I suppose coming off the back of the league, promotion was the big thing, and we had the added bonus of the final and a run out in Croke Park.
“We were looking forward to it and over the last number of weeks, the training has been very good.
“In the second half, we worked really, really hard to get ourselves back into the game and we were very fortunate to have done so.
“But then Monaghan kicked on and got that goal very quickly after we got ours and that set them on their way and they never relinquished that lead and were deserving winners.
“We’ve come across them a lot over the last couple of years and they are a very experienced side and a very selfless side and they used the spare man very well.
“That was the disappointing aspect, when we got back into the game, we didn’t hold on for long enough, but we can’t take away from Monaghan’s performance and it’s up to us now, to pick it up against for Derry in four weeks’ time.”
Derry and Donegal open their Ulster Championship campaigns with a meeting at Celtic Park on Sunday, May 25. For spells at Croke Park Donegal’s huge recent push at training looked evident and Jim McGuinness confirmed afterwards the focus is on the fixture on the Loan Moor Road.
“That’ll be a huge game, and another tough game, but it’s one we are looking forward to,” Murphy said of Derry.
“This is not the end of the road, by any means. The extra game will help, and the defeat that we got wasn’t ideal, but we’ve championship in four weeks now.
“It’s one game to prepare for now, and one game to zone in on and that’s what we’ll do. We’ll have to lift it in all areas, both defensively and attackingly and we need to get the fitness levels up too.
“Hopefully, we can do that and take it to the pitch in Celtic Park and hopefully, we’ll be able to compete on the day.”