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17th Jul 2023

Conor McManus throws Monaghan fans lifeline by hinting that he could play next season

Lee Costello

Conor McManus

“If I thought I could, I would.”

Conor McManus has thrown Monaghan fans a lifeline by hinting that his inter-county career may not be over just yet following semi-final defeat.

McManus was exceptional against Dublin, playing the full full 70 minutes, despite being use primarily as a substitute this season, and showed no signs that he wasn’t still fit for this level.

Following the match, the flying forward spoke to the BBC and when the inevitable question came up about his potential retirement, he gave an interesting response.

“I don’t know if today’s the day for thinking about that,” he said when asked if he will play for Monaghan next year.

“I’ve absolutely loved wearing the Monaghan jersey for the last 17 seasons, I think it is, and it is not something you take lightly.

“If I thought I could [continue playing] I would, but we will not make any decisions today.”

When asked to analysis Monaghan’s brilliant performance against Dublin, where they ultimately came up short, the evergreen sharp shooter couldn’t hide his anguish.

“It’s disappointing. We came here to win the game and I suppose there probably weren’t too many who thought that would be possible but with 10 minutes to go it looked like it was very much in touching distance.

Conor McManus

“Dublin just showed their quality in the final 10 minutes and put a really tight squeeze on us, and we struggled to deal with it. Our target was to get to the last 10 and be in touching distance then push for home but we just couldn’t manage to do that.

“I don’t think a packed Croke Park had anything to do with it, it was just a couple of plays didn’t go our way and we coughed up a couple of frees.

“Dublin tagged on one or two frees, I think it went from 0-13 all to 0-16 to 0-13 in the space of three or four minutes. We just didn’t get a foothold after that. We came to win, we came to put ourselves in an All-Ireland final and we just didn’t do that.”

Conor McManus

Vinny Corey, the Monaghan manager, did a brilliant job of rotating and managing the older players this season, and he certainly doesn’t think that they need to hang up their boots just yet.

“I think they have proven this year that they have a lot left in the tank,” he said.

“Some of the older players were the players that were not going down with cramp and were not coming off at the end, they very much had the fitness for the full game.

“Part of it too is you have to relish these days. We are not guaranteed to be in an All-Ireland semi-final every year so any player should savour it.

“The older players know opportunities are few and far between but I definitely think there is a lot left in the tank in some of those boys. “

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