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'There's definitely question marks over both sets of backs' - an Ulster final with emphasis on attack

Kerry legend Marc Ó Sé joined The42 GAA Weekly to look ahead to big weekend of football.

Tyrone's Darren McCurry shoots under pressure from Ryan Wylie of Monaghan during the league.
Tyrone's Darren McCurry shoots under pressure from Ryan Wylie of Monaghan during the league.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

FOR THE FIRST time since 2006, the Ulster football final will be staged at Croke Park and it involves two sides with more question marks hanging over their defence than attack. 

Monaghan shipped 2-21 in their semi-final win over Armagh, while the scars from the six goals Tyrone conceded against Kerry in the league still linger. 

Both counties possess undoubted attacking quality, with Darren McCurry in flying form for Tyrone, who also introduced Conor McKenna and Cathal McShane as subs against Donegal. 

Conor McManus continues to do the business for Monaghan and alongside him Jack McCarron is playing with great confidence. 

Kerry great Marc Ó Sé joined Maurice Brosnan and Kevin O’Brien on the latest edition of The42 GAA Weekly to look ahead to the Ulster final.

“There’s definitely question marks over both sets of backs, there’s no doubt about that,” said Ó Sé.

“If you look at Monaghan, you’ve got Ryan Wylie, Karl O’Connell and Ryan McAnespie. There is quality within them.

“Then you look on the other end of the field and possible over reliance on Conor McManus even though Jack McCarron has come in this year very well with scores.

“Darren McCurry is a different player this year to the McCurry of old. This weekend we’re going to be looking at a game where we are looking at two sets of forwards that, on their day, can really hurt you. With the likes of Mattie Donnelly, (Niall) Sudden and (Kieran) McGeary – I think it’s going to be a great game.  

“Definitely with Banty and the Donie Buckley factor up there now, I think there’s going to be a huge emphasis on defence the next day. Armagh certainly hurt Monaghan at times so I think there’s going to be a real scrutiny on their defence and making sure the don’t punch holes like we have seen in previous games.

“It’s been an up and down season for them but they’re in an Ulster final now and all bets are off. This game will really go down to the wire and it’s going to be an intriguing battle in my view.

“Whilst they’ll be making sure they’re solid at the back, the key thing with Donie Buckley – and we’ve seem this with the teams he’s been involved in – it’s about the work-rate you have off the ball. We saw that with Mayo in the second-half, that’s the one thing Donie does bring.

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“His emphasis on tacking and that work-rate. That’s something that Monaghan will be working hard on. As well as that it’s the transition, moving that ball as quickly as possible inside.

“I know McManus is pushing on but he’s still able to do the business. If you’ve a player of that quality inside, the emphasis will be on moving that ball quickly early into him so that he can get the scores.”

Before that, the lads reflected on last weekend’s Connacht and Munster finals. There’s discussion about Paudie Clifford’s emergence in the Kerry attack, Sean Meehan’s excellent man-marking job on David Clifford, plus the half-time scrap between Mayo and Galway.

They also discuss Dublin’s motivation heading into the Leinster final, predict the eventual All-Ireland winners, and much more. 

To listen to the full episode, go to members.the42.ie.

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