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O'Rourke: 'Dubs would have cut through us if we went man-to-man'

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Jack McCarron, Monaghan, in action against Michael Fitzsimons, Dublin. Photo: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE

Jack McCarron, Monaghan, in action against Michael Fitzsimons, Dublin. Photo: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE

Jack McCarron, Monaghan, in action against Michael Fitzsimons, Dublin. Photo: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE

ON the eminently sound logic that doing something is far better than doing nothing, Malachy O'Rourke set Monaghan up to fluster and frustrate Dublin last Saturday night.

And for 25 minutes, it worked.

But taking on Dublin just now is a little like trying to successfully solve a rubik's cube.

You get one side right only to discover you need to disturb all that symmetry to resolve another.

"When we sat down to plan maybe we looked at Dublin and felt that the best way was to confine the space that they were going to operate in," explained Farney County manager O'Rourke, sensibly enough.

"For the first 20 minutes or so that worked very well, we would have liked to have scored more up the other end of the field but I suppose we were frustrating Dublin fairly well and if we hadn't conceded the goals we would have got to half-time with a foothold in the game to push on.

"But look, that's what Dublin do, they got the first goal, very soon after that they got another and it left us chasing the game, which is a very difficult thing to do against a top-class team like Dublin."

Not only did Monaghan employ the double-sweeper tactic anyone with a sense of competitive spirit hoped they might, they granted Dublin all of their own kickouts.

logic

Again, there is an element of sense here, even if it didn't exactly work out like as intended.

On all known logic, the source of many of Dublin's semi-ridiculous number of scoring chances per match is Stephen Cluxton.

He can plant the ball, take two steps back and fire a Paul Scholes-esque pass into one of Dublin's perpetual motion middle-eight men in the time it takes the scoreboard to record the point just scored or a wide waved.

Far better then, you would imagine, to give Dublin possession 100 metres from your goal with your defensive alignment fully set, than effectively grant them possession 60 metres out, having bypassed two layers of your wall.

But if there was an element of Dublin's play more striking than the rest, it was their short hand-passing in confined spaces, a rapid fire, tiki-taka interchange designed to draw opposition men into the tackle and then unleash all hell with Dublin's pace once the defenders have committed.

naive

"We could have gone down and went man-for-man and we might see how it goes, knowing in the back of our minds that it wasn't going to stop Dublin," O'Rourke admitted.

"They would have cut through us anyway.

"So we put a plan in place that we felt was the best chance of actually winning the game and that might sound naive now when the game is over and you are beaten by so much.

"But if you are competitive at all that's the way you have to think and we felt it was a plan that could frustrate them and give us a chance of winning the game.

"It's just very disappointing and frustrating to be beat like that."

"It worked for a wee while but as the game wore on they just over-powered us."

Not that it's any consolation for Monaghan or O'Rourke now, but they wont be the last.


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