McManus: 'Tyrone will be confident in a one-off game of winning the All-Ireland against Dublin'

Monaghan star Conor McManus says Tyrone can produce a performance that is worthy of winning an All-Ireland title.

MONAGHAN FORWARD CONOR McManus believes Tyrone will back themselves in a ‘one-off’ game to beat Dublin in the All-Ireland final.

Conor McManus 12/8/2018 Conor McManus in the All-Ireland SFC semi-final against Tyrone. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

McManus starred in the Monaghan side that edged out Dublin in the National League earlier this year and also featured for the Farney men in their agonising defeat to Tyrone in the All-Ireland semi-final.

He concedes that it’s difficult to envisage Dublin losing their grip of the Sam Maguire, but is also aware of the kind of strength that Mickey Harte’s charges can bring to Croke Park on All-Ireland final day.

“It’s very hard to look past Dublin and the strength of their squad,” he said after collecting the PwC GAA/GPA Player of the Month award for July.

On the flip side of that, Tyrone will be confident in a one-off game that they can pull off a performance that’s worthy of winning an All-Ireland.

“If we were going into an All-Ireland in a week and-a-half’s time would we be thinking the same? Yes, so I don’t see why Tyrone would be thinking any different.”

He continued that Tyrone will need to take control of proceedings if they are to keep pace with Jim Gavin’s side when the two teams collide on 2 September.

“You can’t sit off Dublin and continue to let them come on to you and come after you.

Philip McMahon and Damien Comer Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“You have to try to attack them and put them on the backfoot and not let them dictate the terms. That’s the way Tyrone will be looking at it; try to upset Dublin’s rhythm and how they play because in more games than not they dictate how games have gone. Not many teams have upset that over the past few years.

It’s going to need an element of patience on the opposition side. Dublin have dictated the terms of play the last number of games.

“Even in the Galway game when it looked like Galway were competitive enough with them at times in the first half, Dublin still remained in control that day and seemed to be able whenever they needed a score to get one and then obviously they really opened it up in the second half and their bench comes on – that’s when things can get difficult.

They seem, looking from the outside in, to be playing a wee bit inside themselves and that would potentially be the fear in the final if they do really cut loose they will be very hard to stop.

“Having said that, to do that against Tyrone would be very difficult for them.

Reflecting on that narrow one-point defeat to Tyrone in their last-four clash, McManus admitted that there wasn’t much said in the Monaghan group as they tried to process the disappointment.

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Malachy O'Rourke Malachy O'Rourke. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

He’s hopeful that the squad will remain together as they look towards next season and reiterates that it is ‘vital’ that manager Malachy O’Rourke stays in charge, having first been appointed to the position in 2012.

It’s vital. He’s been excellent with this group of players and what he’s done with this group of Monaghan players the past six years has been brilliant. The respect he has within Monaghan and within the dressing room is unbelievable. That he stays is vital.

“Hopefully we can keep everyone together and it’s just a matter of getting the heads down.

“It’s a long way to get back to this stage of the year, but that’s what you have to look at – trying to get back to the Super 8s again next year and take it from there.

With reporting from Sinéad Farrell and Gavan Casey

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