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'Beating Kerry Wouldn't Have Been A Feather In Our Cap'

'Beating Kerry Wouldn't Have Been A Feather In Our Cap'
By PJ Browne
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Colin Walshe was making his way back down the field when David Clifford found space through a forest of limbs in the Monaghan square to level Sunday's Super 8 game in Clones.

"I had lost the ball up in the corner and I was just making my way down and had actually tried to get out to James O'Donghue in time, but I didn't make it out in time to get enough pressure on the kick," said Monaghan captain Walshe at the launch of the EirGrid Moments in Time competition at Croke Park on Wednesday.

"I just watched on. Look, there were a lot of bodies there. There wasn't much room for him to work with, but he managed to find the spot."

Heartbreak for Walshe and teammates it certainly was but it's not a situation without opportunity for repair. Beat Galway in Salthill on the August Bank Holiday weekend and they top the group.

Monaghan have had numerous close encounters with Kerry down the years.

There was just a point between them in a 2007 All-Ireland quarter-final and a goal a year later in a qualifier.

More than two decades earlier an All-Ireland semi-final went to a replay. The old, 'They had their chance the first day' cliche about the underdog shone through as Kerry won by five points the second day.


That history - those close misses - didn't matter to this Monaghan team.

"That might be chatted about in the stand and stuff but it didn't factor in too much for us," said Walshe.

Beating Kerry wouldn't have been a feather in our cap, being in an All-Ireland semi-final would have been what we were targeting and that's what we're still targeting.

The immediate aftermath of the game, there was an awful sense of disappointment. We felt like we let something slip and get away from us.

I suppose we left ourselves in that position against a Kerry team that was fighting for their lives and threw everything at us and there was only a kick of a ball in it going into the last couple of minutes.

Them things happen in football, a goal can come out of nothing, but it's something we've kind of drawn a line under. We had training last night and we're just moving on forward from that.


Why Kerry were allowed loiter in the game rather than being dumped from the championship was the topic of conversation at Monaghan training on Tuesday evening. Chances not taken when they were on top and unexploited turnovers were the conclusions.

"In the second half we made breakaways down the field but didn't get any scores from them or got no return form it.

"That's something we're going to have to look at and try to be more clinical because that's probably what let us down ultimately the last day, we just didn't take the chances that were presented to us and put the game to bed.


"It's just probably taking the right option. Between taking the right option and being a bit more composed in the shot. Some of them were the right options but maybe we just weren't composed when shooting or just weren't clinical enough.

"The others, there were maybe chances for an extra pass or an extra play and just making it an easier scoring opportunity for someone else and it's just about looking at that, that there were probably runners and extra men there."

Reach an All-Ireland semi-final and Walshe believes it will be the best year they've had under Malachy O'Rouke and no doubt also be the best Monaghan team on which he has played.


"The Kerrys and Tyrones are all in that bracket that's talked about and we'd feel we'd have ever right to be talked about that way as well.

"We would have the confidence in ourselves and if you offered it to us a fortnight ago that we'd have three points from four going into the last game and our fate was in our hands knowing a win would get us top of the group, then we would have took it surely.

"We'd have confidence in ourselves to go down [to Galway] and do the business, yeah."


In attendance at the launch of the EirGrid Moments in Time competition is Colin Walshe of Monaghan with his chosen GAA Moment in Time. EirGrid, now in its third year as the official timing partner to the GAA, works closely with communities around Ireland every day and the organisation wants to ensure that these communities have a chance to benefit because of their partnership with the GAA. EirGird is calling on all GAA supporters throughout the country to submit their favourite image of a GAA Moment in Time be it on the pitch as a player, as a volunteer in a club or as a supporter on the side line to be in with a chance to win a digital clock and scoreboard for their club. For information on how to enter please see www.eirgridgroup.com. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

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