Padraic Joyce hails Monaghan for their pure grit as they grind it out once again
Conor McManus rolled back the years as he inspired Monaghan to yet another Allianz League great escape.
The Clontibret icon scored 1-6, including an emphatic late penalty as he sealed the deal on a 2-14 to 0-14 win over Mayo in Round Seven of the Allianz National Football League.
In order to survive, Monaghan needed other results to go their way in this final round of games but other results did go their way. Of course they did.
As has happened so many times during their ten year stay at the top table of Gaelic football, Monaghan came good and they did enough.
Crucially, Armagh were defeated by Tyrone which, coupled with the Monaghan result, was enough to condemn Kieran McGeeney's side to relegation. But today is all about Monaghan.
They may be one of the smallest counties in the country, but they continue to punch above their weight and remain the second longest serving team in Division One, just behind Kerry.
Wing back Ryan O'Toole scored a tremendous first goal for the Farney against a stronger Mayo team than some might have expected. Stephen O'Hanlon was a livewire all day while Conor McCarthy scored one tremendous point for Vinny Corey's side.
But 36-year-old Conor McManus was the main man. He kicked 1-6, including a couple of beauties from play and a late penalty which he celebrated with a passionate clench of the fist.
It came as a surprise to many that Monaghan had done it again on the final day, but Padraic Joyce wasn't too surprised and he paid tribute to the county after Galway's win over Kerry.
"Big win for Monaghan," he told TG4's Micheál Ó Domhnaill.
"As we know ourselves, they're the escape artists," continued Joyce.
"My wife's a Monaghan woman so she'll be happy enough for them now that they survived.
"In fairness to Monaghan, I know them quite well.
"They breathe football up there, they put their hearts and souls into it, so fair play to them, it's a great win for them, and it's great that they survived."
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