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Kerryman's Monaghan Addition Gave Conor McManus 'Kick In The Ass'

Kerryman's Monaghan Addition Gave Conor McManus 'Kick In The Ass'

Even though he is a three-time All-Star, and undoubtedly one of the best forwards in the country, the addition of Donie Buckley to the Monaghan backroom team last season made Conor McManus feel like he had to prove himself all over again.

"Donie is top class. He's top class," said McManus, who confirmed Kerryman Buckley will be working with Monaghan again in 2022.

"The one thing we'll be looking forward to this year is actually having Donie for a full period of time, and him getting his teeth into us more and more. You could only just start to see the fruits of where we were going with things.

"We only had four games in the league [last year] and this year we will get a full National League in. Every Tuesday and Thursday night after those, that’s when Donie will come to his best, he can analyse games and coach accordingly as to how we need to be improving and working on our game and tactics.

"All of those things will help, there's maybe learning to be got from Donie. And the more time we can spend with him, the better.

"You can always be learning, and it also gives you that wee bit of a kick in the ass for want of a better word to prove yourself. This new man is coming in, and he might know some of the guys from playing against us, but ultimately you feel as if you have to go a prove yourself all over again so it certainly gives everyone a wee bit of an edge."

conor mcmanus donie buckley retirement monaghan

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Now 33, and heading into his 16th season of inter-county football, McManus says he is not contemplating retirement just yet.

Conor McManus on Monaghan retirement possibility

"The end is definitely closer than the start anyway, that’s for sure," he said.

"No I’m not entertaining it (retirement) for a year or two yet. The automatic thinking is how can we improve next year and where can we go with this next year. That’s the automatic thought process.

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"I think if the body is allowing you to go ahead and do it, go ahead and do it. It is well known at this stage that I am just managing my hip.

"It’s just an ongoing battle. There’s days as if you feel you’re very much on top of it and then there’s other days you think, ‘Jesus, this thing has me beat here’.

"It’s just a constant rehab process and you try and keep on top of it as best you can, and once you have the pain being kept away you can function reasonably well.

"It’s definitely more a case now of managing your load and managing your playing time maybe even more so than I would have been doing five or six years ago, where you’d be doing every training session and playing every game or as many games as you could. Now you just have to be a wee bit smarter.

"As long as I can manage that and keep on top of that I will keep going, as long as I am providing something to the team and am wanted around the group, I will continue to do that."

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17 July 2021; Conor McManus of Monaghan in action against James Morgan of Armagh during the Ulster Senior Football Championship semi-final match at Páirc Esler in Newry, Down. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

 

Monaghan's 2021 season ended in Croke Park with a one-point defeat to eventual All-Ireland champions Tyrone in the Ulster final. McManus takes hope from that game.

"You could probably argue that neither team played particularly well that day," he said.

"We probably had chances and Tyrone probably had further chances as well to pull away from us. When you lose a game by a point you always feel as if you are there or thereabouts, particularly when you see that team going on ahead to win the All-Ireland - and deservedly so, they go and beat Kerry after extra-time and beat Mayo quite comfortably.

"It gives you hope, it gives you hope because the last five or six years we have all been running into Dublin and everybody has been coming up short. So to see a new team go and do it, and a team from Ulster who we have been fairly competitive with the last number of years then it gives you hope going forward."

Photos by Sportsfile

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conor mcmanus donie buckley retirement monaghan

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