Peter Canavan asks Conor McManus the question on every Tyrone fans’ lips as Monaghan do it again 7 months ago

Peter Canavan asks Conor McManus the question on every Tyrone fans’ lips as Monaghan do it again

Monaghan 2-17 Tyrone 1-18

Ryan O'Toole was injured shortly after his match-winning goal in the Ulster senior football quarter final.


He had quite a limp on him too, from what seemed like a dead leg, but as Monaghan's physio and doctor combined to link him off the field, the one thing you couldn't but notice was the smile that never left his face.

He'd just put a smile on everyone's face Monaghan.

When Kieran Duffy passed him the ball with time up, with Monaghan one point down and with both Niall Morgan and Ronan McNamee to beat, you would have expected the championship debutante to fist it over the bar.

Paul Flynn admitted on The Sunday Game that that's what he'd have done.


It's the percentage play and in this day and age - we know it too well - Gaelic football is all about percentages.

But Ryan O'Toole didn't want to know about percentages.

Call it inexperience, call it exuberance, call it naivety, call it whatever it is you want - but the only thing that matters is that he went for it and that he won this game for Monaghan.


Now that's what you call a championship debut. It was some debut for O'Toole and this was some game of football - the type that, whether you're from Monaghan or Tyrone, whether you're a hurling fan or a football fan, it doesn't matter - the hair was standing on the back of your neck by the end of it.

It was championship football at its best.

Monaghan had it all to do at half-time, when they trailed by five points but, with the wind at their backs, they got to work. Having been anonymous in the first half, Conor McCarthy stood above almost all others in the second.


For the life of them Tyrone couldn't stop his fast, direct runs and his two second half points were borne out of desire and skill. McCarthy never stopped running and the same could be said for Karl O'Connell, the 34-year-old who plays and looks like he's still only 22.

From the same cloth, Conor McManus showed himself to be just as evergreen while Micheal Bannigan and Killian Lavelle got through some amount of donkey work around the middle. Stephen O'Hanlon scored a tremendous goal, Kieran Duffy chipped in with his customary point - he almost scores one every day - and he also gave the assist for that man O'Toole.

The man of the moment.


Tyrone played their part too - the brilliant Darragh Canavan hit 1-5 in a coming of age display. Brian Kennedy also impressed for them as did Mattie Donnelly. Neither team deserved to lose but as in every sport, one of them has to. And nobody deserved to win more than Ryan O'Toole, the young man who got his chance, put his head down and went for it.

Joanne Cantwell asked Conor McManus on The Sunday Game afterwards if, at the time, he thought O'Toole should have took his point.

"No, No, No," replied McManus.

"The scored the goal, the exact same type of one against Mayo a few weeks ago. I had full faith in him to score the goal."

And then Peter Canavan asked Conor McManus the question in every Tyrone fan's mind...

"I've one other question for you Conor," said the Tyrone man.

"When are you going to retire?"

McManus could only laugh. He's put Tyrone through some tough days in the past, few as tough as this but at 36, he's not done yet.