Malachy O’Rourke saw his team lose out by a point today in Croke Park.
A ONE POINT All-Ireland semi-final loss was bound to generate disappointment, but for Monaghan boss Malachy O’Rourke the pain was greater given the amount of injury-time that was played today in Croke Park.
Points from Kieran Hughes and Drew Wylie had enabled Monaghan to chip away at Tyrone’s advantage in the additional period before time ran out as referee Anthony Nolan blew the full-time whistle.
It left O’Rourke frustrated that only three extra minutes had been signalled.
“(I’m) just frustrated the way the game ended, in that all year every game we’ve been involved in there have been seven, eight nine minutes of injury time.
“I can’t understand today how with so many substitutes brought on – they are supposed to be 20 or 30 seconds per substitution and there were plenty of injuries all through the game – how he came up with three minutes of injury time.
“That is really frustrating. We were on the front foot We had scored two points in injury time. To be cut off like that and even the last ball that went in that Kieran went for, the referee signalled for a free in and then didn’t give it.
“Just bitterly disappointed to have put so much in. I felt at the end and I don’t mean to be making excuses and no comment on Tyrone at all but just very disappointing for ourselves to come down here and we have had to be beaten like we were.”
O’Rourke was then asked if he had spoken to the Wicklow official afterwards about it.
“I didn’t get a chance and I don’t necessarily think I’d be told. You can imagine how frustrating it is.”
While keen to acknowledge Tyrone’s worth to victory, O’Rourke felt his team came out on the wrong side of some marginal decisions throughout the game by the referee.
“You know someone like myself is not the best man to judge that because you have a certain bias, but I did feel that right through the game that a lot of the marginal calls weren’t going our way.
“I thought we were having to work a lot harder to get a free than Tyrone were. I don’t want it to reflect on Tyrone at all, nothing to do with them at all. Tyrone played the game and won it deservedly so.
“But just from our own point of view, very frustrated and disappointed.”
In Monaghan’s first All-Ireland semi-final tie in three decades, they came agonisingly close to reaching the decider but O’Rourke hailed the character of his team for pushing Tyrone to the wire.
“The boys showed the character we knew they would. They kept coming back, we probably played better than this year we did today but even that second half it took us a while to get going but the boys battled for every ball.
“We got ourselves a point ahead, we were in a good position, Tyrone got a goal and even the goal we got Darren made a diving block, Walshie was there as well, it just rolled out and Niall Sludden put it away.
“But even when we were down two points again, the boys refused to give in. We kept battling back even in the second half and we were on the front foot.
“All defeats are hard at different times and different context but it was such a massive day for the lads, the whole county.
“I didn’t think we played our best football but I just felt the character in the team, they refused to go away and kept battling back that’s what makes it so disappointing.”
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