Conor McManus explains why he went high with both penalties as Corey says Monaghan never praticed them
Conor McManus was Monaghan's hero as they defeated Armagh on a penalty shoot-out in the All-Ireland quarter final.
Not only did the Clontibret legend score two penalties in the shoot-out, he also won, and then scored the last-gasp free that sent the game to penalties.
Afterwards, his manager Vinny Corey hailed him as 'the ultimate clutch player,' and 'Monaghan's greatest ever clutch player.' Very few will argue with that.
McManus was phenomenal but it was far from a one-man job.
Conor McCarthy hit three points in normal time to continue his fine season while veterans Darren Hughes and Karl O'Connell also battled through the full 90 minutes. Then you've Jack McCarron, Kieran Hughes, Micheal Bannigan and Gary Mohan nailing their penalties to send Monaghan through to the last four.
For Armagh, it's devastation. It's their third time to lose a shoot-out in a year and this may be the toughest to take. Man-of-the-match Aidan Forker showed guts to do an interview with GAA GO after the game, while credit must be given to interviewer Clara Hester for keeping him for just one question.
Conor McManus joined the GAA GO panel after the game and he hailed his team-mates character and fight.
"We don't make life easy for ourselves," said the 36-year-old.
"There's always been no more than a kick of a ball between ourselves and Armagh. We showed a bit of character and a bit of fight."
"It's the desire to play for Monaghan and to represent the people of Monaghan. You look at Darren Hughes, Karl O'Connell, two or three kids at home and still journeying into play for us. That is what it's all about."
"It's not easy," he said of the shoot-out, "You go up and you score your first one and you're thinking that's my job done but it came back, I'm just glad it didn't come back a third time."
McManus also explained why he went high with both of his penalties.
"Everybody tells you to go low, and keepers will always dive low, very few keepers will dive high. It's alright when it works."
"You know it's the last play," he said of the late free he won, "Conor Lane has told us that. I suppose you just want to get yourself on the ball. I'm probably doing it a lot longer than a lot of lads that's out here. I'm not too sure I'd have been standing up to that ten years ago."
Meanwhile, Monaghan manager Vinny Corey said that the team hasn't practiced penalties. He also hailed his team's veterans McManus, Hughes and O'Connell in particular.
"They're warriors," said Corey.
"No we didn't practice penalties. Sometimes you can do more harm than good practicing them. You can't replicate that, unless you had a sea of orange behind the goals in Cloghan. We backed the boys. We knew the players we had for the penalties, and we had every faith we had to score them.
"You had Darren Hughes and Karl O'Connell - 35/36 years of age. We took Karl off because he got a bang on the back of the head, he wanted to get back in. They're warriors. Them boys are built for it."
"Then you have Manzy, he's the ultimate clutch player, probably Monaghan's best ever clutch player, and he's done it again."