Thursday 25 April 2019

'Missed chances could be costly on another day'

DUBLIN manager Jim Gavin was erring on the side of caution after Dublin eventually strolled past the challenge of Monaghan to set up a mouth-watering last-four clash with Donegal later this month.

The Metropolitans spurned a number of goal chances in the second half on Saturday, and against a Donegal team that commit numbers en masse behind the ball that may prove fatal, according to Gavin.

'We created a lot of chances and didn't take them, so there are still areas we need to work on. If we stay stagnant for too long, teams will catch us,' he said.

And while Dublin chalked up another big score, Gavin believed nothing came easy on the day.

'There was a job to be done today. We are thankful that they did that and applied themselves in the right way. The success they had today was based on hard work.

'The key strength of this Dublin team is their mental resolve. They are an intelligent group and they kept probing the opposition.'

According to Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke, the seven-day turnaround between their extra-time game with Kildare and Saturday's quarter-final certainly proved a disadvantage on the day.

'The game with Kildare took a lot out of the players at the weekend. We spent most of the week recovering and you would rather three or four weeks to do that. I suppose our energy levels weren't at the levels we would have liked, but in fairness to them, they put in a great effort for the first 20 minutes.'

Two goals, expertly finished off by Diarmuid Connolly and Bernard Brogan, would take the Metropolitans out of Monaghan's slipstream approaching half-time and O'Rourke believed that it was always going to be hard for Monaghan to get back into the game after that.

'I suppose we went out with a plan. We had looked at Dublin. We were going to try to confine the space they were going to operate in, and for the first 20 minutes that worked fairly well, although we would have like to score more at the other end of the field.

'But then they got the first goal and then they got the second one soon after, it left us chasing the game and that's a very difficult thing to do against a top team like Dublin.'

Nonetheless, O'Rourke insists Monaghan must learn from Saturday's defeat if they are to progress next season.

'We came in here today knowing it was going to be a massive challenge, but we wanted to see how we would be able to deal with that.

'As the game wore on Dublin's power and pace and their team work and everything else just wore us down, but if there is ambition within the group that's the gap you have to try and reach and you have to try and keep working.'

Fingal Independent