What the Monaghan players did after Tyrone loss really sums up their heartache 7 months ago

What the Monaghan players did after Tyrone loss really sums up their heartache

30 years.

That's how long Monaghan had waited to be within 70 minutes of an All-Ireland final.

The last time they made the final was 1930 but, having been edged out by Tyrone at Croke Park, the Farney will have to wait one more year at least.

Niall Sludden's late goal proved crucial as Mickey Harte's team reached their first final in ten years, piling the heartache on the Monaghan men at the end of a tightly-contested clash.

And while the Red Hans toasted a hard-fought victory, now awaiting a decider with four-in-a-row chasing Dublin, a bitterly disappointed Malachy O'Rourke and his players were left to reflect on a series of missed opportunities as their Championship summer came to an end.

It was obviously extremely difficult to take from a Monaghan perspective. Damien Ó Dónaill, a broadcaster with RTE, captured a few of Monaghan's crestfallen players, including the lion-hearted Drew Wylie (who put in a titanic shift on the day), returning to the Croke Park field, the stadium having emptied out, to reflect.

Monaghan have poured everything into this Championship campaign. Downing Galway in Salthill to secure top spot in the Super 8s and avoid a semi-final meeting with Dublin instilled a real sense of belief in them.

In the end, they couldn't quite overcome Harte's streetsmart Tyrone, led by the inspirational Colm Cavanagh, the Moy man looking to add his second All-Ireland title ten years after clinching his first.

But it's difficult not to feel sympathetic towards Monaghan. It wasn't to be their year but, then again, does anyone genuinely think it's Tyrone's year? It looks very much like the relentless winning machine of Dublin will chalk off one last victory and prolong their Championship dominance.

For the sake of our enjoyment of this great sport's competitiveness, I hope I'm wrong.