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Experience a big factor in narrow wins - McManus

Monaghan's Conor McManus. Photo: Sportsfile
Monaghan's Conor McManus. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Conor McManus is in no doubt that Monaghan would have lost the type of game they won against Kerry in Inniskeen on Sunday a few years ago and takes it as a sign of their comfort with life in Division 1 of the Allianz football league.

Monaghan have been a top-flight side for the last four seasons and Sunday's two-point win over Kerry, similar to their one-point win over Kildare in Newbridge two weeks earlier, will go a long way to ensuring they remain there for a fifth season.

Only Mayo, Dublin and Kerry have now enjoyed Division 1 status for longer than Monaghan who came up with Donegal in 2014 after wining the Division 2 title.

"There's no doubt," said McManus about the potential for defeat in a game like that in the past.

"That's what we're after, that's the sign of improvement we're looking for the whole time.

"We'll take a lot of learning from that because there was a lot of poor, basic mistakes from our side as well but the pleasing thing was we were able to produce a few moments of quality and work a few scores to get us over the line," said McManus, who scored a 20th-minute penalty that the camera angle showed was justifiably awarded by referee Cormac Reilly, a view not so clear from the stand side in Páirc Grattan in real time.

Experience of these situations is the key, according to McManus.

"We've been in situations like this before in the past three or four years in Division 1 and a few tight championship games," he said.

"So you have to try and find a pass, find a ball that will manufacture a score and we managed to do that in the last few minutes.

"We slowed it down at times when on other occasions we might have got caught, rushing up and getting turned over," he said.

"When we went down to 14 men particularly I thought we defended well and galvanised the thing at the back."

It was McManus' first start of the season but the flow of games in a more compressed league is something, he feels, players are enjoying.

"Another tight one in Castleblayney now against Tyrone. Legs will be heavy for a day or two, but we'll get back to work.

"It's Galway the following week so it's a busy schedule but that's what players want."

McManus feels he is managing a hip problem that has troubled him in recent years much better now.

"It's good to get 74 or 75 minutes under my belt, especially in conditions like that and it should stand to me. I'm getting a better grip on it than I had in the last couple of years and hopefully I can contain it."

Irish Independent

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