DESIRE TO STAY UP WAS KEY TO WIN - O'ROURKE

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DESIRE TO STAY UP WAS KEY TO WIN - O'ROURKE

While the outcome of yesterday’s tie was down to a combination of things, Malachy O’Rourke, the Monaghan manager, felt it was Monaghan’s greater hunger that got them over the line.

“It was a combination of things,” said the Monaghan boss.

“It's always tricky the way Donegal set up and the system they play, and if they get a run on you, then it can be hard to catch them.

“Sometimes when we didn't push up on the kick-outs, they were able to work it well down the field and get a score and then when we did push up, they exploited us in behind.

“As the game wore on we got stronger and stronger and we started to win more individual battles around the field. We got more of a foothold around the middle.

“Our play improved and we had a great hunger to try and win the game and in the end that probably carried us over the line.”

O’Rourke felt that Dermot Malone’s goal shortly after Martin McElhinney had hit the net at the other end was one of the game’s big scores.

“We needed the response after the Donegal goal and our goal was crucial,” he said.

“We were seven points down and if we didn't get a goal it was going to take a lot of play to get back. The goal reduced the gap a wee bit.”

The win meant that Monaghan moved on to six points to ensure safety in Division One for another year.

“I'm delighted to have got through it as this was a very important game for us,” O'Rourke added.

“We wanted to stay in Division One and we knew that other results had to work for us so we're glad that Kerry did us a favour.

“When Colin Walshe put the ball over the bar we were aware of the permutations. A draw was no good to us and we knew Cork had lost so a one-point win would do us. No better man than Walshie to finish it off.

“We said all along that Division One is about playing quality teams every week. If you're down at all you can be exploited and we wouldn't have the same resources so if we're down three or four it can affect us more than other, bigger counties.

“It's a tough environment to be in but we learn an awful lot about ourselves in Division One every week. It's great to have it next year.”

As Monaghan survived it was Down and Cork who made the drop to Division Two.