24 June 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

This Saturday evening in Tullamore Monaghan and Offaly will seek to extend their stay in the race to claim the All-Ireland SFC title. Both sides are hurting after provincial championship defeat but Offaly boss Tom Cribbin suggests the midlanders are hurting most of all, writes KEVIN CARNEY
Offaly senior football manager Tom Cribbin will ask his charges to take a leaf out of Monaghan’s book when the sides come face to face this weekend. The Faithful County host Monaghan in the first round of this year’s All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers at O’Connor Park, Tullamore on Saturday evening next and Cribbin wants the Leinstermen to replicate the grit and commitment demonstrated by Eamonn McEneaney’s side in going down to Tyrone last time out. “When the going got tough (against Tyrone), the Monaghan lads really gritted their teeth and pushed Tyrone all the way,” Cribbin opined.
“Considering Monaghan were without a man (Dick Clerkin) for 40 minutes, you have to hand it to them the way they stuck at it, against adversity, and against one of the top three or four teams in the country.
“Tyrone had to work very hard to get out of Omagh with a two point win ’cause of the way Monaghan kept asking questions and it was only a couple of class points from Stephen O’Neill in the final quarter that gave Tyrone that bit of a cushioned lead that helped see them home.”
The Clane (Kildare) clubman is a firm admirer of Ulster football in general and believes that with a bit more luck Monaghan could have “got out of the North which is a helluva hard thing to do.”
While conceding that Eamonn McEneaney’s side is a work-in-progress model, the former Laois supremo (1999-2001) says the visiting team boasts a slew of experienced players in its ranks and he fully expects to encounter “an unbelieveable battle” in Tullamore.
“I’m not sure whether we’re good enough to beat a division one league team like Monaghan but this Saturday does give us the opportunity to put our last performance behind us and hopefully we can keep going for the whole 70 minutes just like Monaghan did in Healy Park (Omagh).
“We collapsed in the last 15 or 20 minutes against Wexford, the lads became deflated and heads went down.
“But I genuinely feel the lads play better against the bigger teams and hopefully they’ll rise their game accordingly for Saturday.

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