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GAA Football

Conor McManus praises 'refreshing' Waterford ahead of Qualifier clash with Monaghan

Padraig O Meiscill

CONOR McManus has praised the “refreshing” attitude of Monaghan’s opponents in tomorrow's All-Ireland SFC Qualifying second round.

Waterford stunned Wexford in Wexford Park in the first round of the Qualifiers to record their first Championship victory in seven years and, far from bunkering down to prepare for their next game, they decided to make the most of a rare victory.

"We don't do media bans, drink bans and we're definitely going to enjoy tonight," said manager Tom McGlinchey after his squad were pictured enjoying a celebratory beer in picturesque surroundings last Saturday night.

And Monaghan star McManus has concurred that the Déise footballers were entitled to savour the moment in a Championship set-up that has become increasingly defined by approaches that wouldn’t be out of place among elite squads at this summer’s soccer World Cup.

“It’s a refreshing attitude, certainly,” said the Clontibret man.

“They’re entitled to enjoy their day in the sun. This is what we all play football for, to remember moments like that, why we’ve played and trained since we were school kids and sometimes we lose sight of that. Waterford waited a long time for that win last weekend and it was a big day for them.

“But they’ll be ready for us, I’ve no doubt about that. They’ll have had their celebration and got back down to work again, and they’ll have had a fortnight to get ready for ourselves.”

Monaghan make the trip south to Dungarvan for the Qualifier clash with the Division Four side, and McManus insists the Farney won’t be taking the challenge lightly.

“We’ve talked about Waterford since the draw was made and we’re concentrating on the job at hand,” he added.

“Waterford’s confidence will have been boosted by that win over Wexford. Nobody gave them a chance of getting a result from that game, but they went to Wexford and won, so that will give them confidence they can get a result against ourselves.”

But when asked whether the Waterford game was the fixture Monaghan need to get that Ulster SFC semi-final defeat to Fermanagh out of their system, the Allstar forward was dismissive.

“We lost to Fermanagh in Ulster fair and square, there is no next game after that,” he said.

“This is a new game, in a new competition and we have to start from scratch. We had training last night [Wednesday] and everyone was fit and raring to go. The Fermanagh game is gone, we have to move on now.”

McManus had one of his more frustrating games against the Ernemen in Healy Park and he may be anticipating basking in a lot more space in Dungarvan come Saturday week, but he was no less than gracious about the special treatment he received in the semi-final.

“It was what you come to expect in the Ulster Championship, it was no more frustrating than any other day out,” he said.

“Ulster Championship games are always tough, there is little space available to anyone and you just have to battle away. Fermanagh won the game fair and square and I’ve no complaints.

"Both themselves and Donegal came through Ulster in very impressive form and, with Rory Gallagher’s knowledge of Donegal, it’s going to be a toss-up in the final.”

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