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Big calls for O'Rourke ahead of Dublin clash

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(l-r) Monaghan boss Malachy O’Rourke will renew rivalries with Dublin manager Jim Gavin in
Saturday evening’s All-Ireland quarter-final. Photo: SPORTSFILE

(l-r) Monaghan boss Malachy O’Rourke will renew rivalries with Dublin manager Jim Gavin in Saturday evening’s All-Ireland quarter-final. Photo: SPORTSFILE

(l-r) Monaghan boss Malachy O’Rourke will renew rivalries with Dublin manager Jim Gavin in Saturday evening’s All-Ireland quarter-final. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Diplomacy probably influenced Malachy O'Rourke's declaration that Dublin and Tyrone are "neck and neck in terms of favouritism for the All-Ireland," but he might give a different answer now.

O'Rourke spoke after his team's victory over Down on Saturday but almost 24 hours before they came first out of the pot for next Saturday's All-Ireland quarter-final alongside Jim Gavin's All-Ireland champions.

Still, he was accurate when he predicted "a tough week ahead of us to try and get up to the speed of the teams we're playing next but it's a good place to be."

Both Dublin and Tyrone, O'Rourke added: "were at a different level completely and we have an awful lot of work to do if we're going to be competitive."

He wasn't lying.

Saturday was just Monaghan's second victory in Croke Park since 1930 although next week's quarter-final appearance will be their fourth in five years of his management.

His team can look back with some positivity at their three-point (1-15 to 2-15) loss to Dublin on the last day of this year's League, given how they led that day in Clones by six points with 45 minutes played. Of much less comfort will be the memory of their last Championship meeting with Jim Gavin's team, a 17-point hiding in Croke Park at precisely the stage they meet next Saturday at 6.0.

On Saturday, Monaghan struggled for the second time this year with Down full-forward Connaire Harrison, who scored 1-4 on Drew Wylie, the Farney's out-of-form full-back.

Yet by contrast to their Ulster semi-final loss, their bench influenced the result significantly.

Jack McCarron, who scored 1-9 against Dublin in Clones but whose form has fallen off the face of a cliff since the end of the League, hit 0-2 from play while Conor McCarthy changed the game with four brilliant points.

On an evening when Conor McManus scored 0-10 (8f) but declined to shoot on a curious number of occasions, it was a welcome return from reserve.

"Getting that impact from the bench was a big boost for us but it's not always going to work like that," O'Rourke pointed out. "It's just about looking at the panel that you have and seeing what suits best.

"There's days that you put them in from the start and there's other days that when the game opens up a wee bit, they perform better."

ALL-IRELAND SFC QUARTER-FINAL DRAW

Saturday August 5

Armagh v Tyrone, Croke Park, 4.0

Dublin v Monaghan, Croke Park 6.0

ALL-IRELAND SFC QUARTER-FINAL REPLAY

Monday August 7

Mayo v Roscommon, Croke Park, TBC


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