I don't think diving is a major problem within the game - McManus
Published 13/08/2015 | 02:30
The days have been ticking by slowly for Conor McManus. That tends to be the way of things when you've a head full of regrets and a whole load of what-ifs.
McManus was in Croke Park to pick up his Opel Player of the Month award. All around him, the fall-out from their defeat by Tyrone is rumbling on but it doesn't really bother him. The dives, the dismissals and subsequent proposed suspension hold little interest.
Monaghan are out and McManus says the blame lies solely with the players.
"I suppose the biggest thing from our end was that we didn't perform and that's the most disappointing thing, we didn't really give ourselves a chance to win the game," he reflected.
"We were 0-7 to 0-5 down at half-time and having not played overly well. Then you're thinking, 'Right, we're in a good enough position here to go out and kick on in the second half'.
"But it didn't really happen until the last 10 minutes when we were just chasing the game.
"So that's probably the biggest disappointment of it. If we had come out and played well and got beaten by a point or two, at least you could have held your hands up and said you gave it a shot.
"But when you don't do that it's disappointing."
Darren Hughes' dismissal for rubbing Tiernan McCann's hair didn't help their cause but McManus isn't suggesting it was the difference in the end.
The closing ten minutes saw both sides engage in behaviour that was, to put it politely, undesirable, but McCann's dramatic collapse has taken the most of the attention.
For the record, McManus doesn't see diving or simulation as a big issue for the GAA.
"I don't think it is a massive thing within the game," said the Clontibret man. "Obviously when something happens in a game where there are 60-70,000 at it and it's live on television and a large part of the country watching it then there is going to be a reaction.
"It goes back to the social media end of things, the fact that everybody has had their say on it. It just escalates from there and it is very hard to control that."
He has played in games like that before. The ones that are tetchy and have high stakes, though he does believe referees could be given more help.
"It's nothing, I've been in games like that before. I suppose at the time you are not paying much heed to what's going on. It's only the media reaction after and everyone has their say now on Twitter and other places like that.
"You can't see what Marty Duffy seen, but again it goes back to helping the officials out. I'm sure when he watches that back himself that he'll know that Darren didn't deserve to get a red card. So why not have something in place that can tell Marty Duffy at the time?
"Look, there is a screen there - I don't know if it played it or not - but if it did then 80,000 or whatever was inside Croke Park would have all known it wasn't (a red-card offence) yet the referee didn't know. Do you know what I mean?
"There is no doubt we could have been doing with Darren on the field. We hadn't been playing well. With that last ten minutes when we were making a push it certainly didn't help losing Darren."
Monaghan go back to the drawing board again. A second All-Ireland quarter-final defeat is harder to swallow this time around. McManus is confident Malachy O'Rourke will be back at the helm next year but there is a cohort of senior players who might decide their number is up.
"You would hope there (won't be retirements) but I can't speak for the older lads on the team. There's a couple of boys who have been massive servants for Monaghan.
"You couldn't blame them if they decided not to commit for another year because it's a huge commitment.
"Some of those boys are married with children, or children on the way, so from that point of view you wouldn't be overly surprised and you wouldn't hold it against any of them for walking away but hopefully not. I suppose now is not the time to make decisions."