Keeping out Gorman a hard call for McEnaney


John O’Sullivanhears how the Monaghan manager faced up to decision to call Darren Hughes into goals

HIS DECISION to pass over replacement goalkeeper Seán Gorman was vindicated at Casement Park yesterday, but Monaghan manager Seamus McEnaney wasn’t consoling himself with the convincing victory straight after the match.

McEnaney knew the inquisition would be the first topic on the post-match agenda.

“It was the most difficult decision I ever had to make in my life, not about Darren Hughes but about our sub goalkeeper Seán Gorman,” he explained. “That’s life but unfortunately these are things you have to do.

“I had to make three phone calls last night to Darren (Hughes), JP Mone and Owen Lennon. The decision was made about seven or eight o’clock (on Saturday night). It wasn’t looking good (for Shane Duffy, who is expected to be fit for the semi-final) this last three or four days. I would only ever make a decision like that in the best interests of Monaghan football: nothing else was in the equation.

“The people of Monaghan know that; this group of players know that. They respected that and it was the toughest decision I ever made as team manager – but that’s what we’re here to do. Every single player knows whatever decision I have to make to win the game, this management team will make those decisions.”

McEnaney was less forthcoming about Gorman’s reaction to the news yesterday morning and the fact that he didn’t travel.

He continued: “Darren Hughes was exceptionally good, Owen Lennon was outstanding in the middle of the field and JP Mone did a great job at fullback.

“I have a serious belief in the players, in their belief, their attitude and their loyalty to Monaghan football. We had serious belief we would win, even when Armagh went three or four points up, it never came into the equation with us.”

His Armagh counterpart, Paddy O’Rourke, cut a more solemn figure as he sifted through the events of a difficult afternoon.

“Whether you get beaten by one point or beaten by 12 it is very disappointing. We are probably not a team known for conceding big scores like we did today. We are bitterly disappointed and we will go away and see why we did that and hopefully we will not repeat it as the year progresses.

“Monaghan are an experienced, hardened team and they are a very good team. They have very good players and we knew that: I was not trying to fool anybody when I said they probably had as good forwards as any team in the country. I see no reason why Monaghan shouldn’t go on and win the Ulster title. I expect that is what they will do.

“We are very disappointed with the sending off. Brian is a competitive boy but he is not a dirty player. He got sent off and these things happen and you have to try and deal with them.

“We probably didn’t get to terms with it. After that Monaghan stretched the lead and it was very easy for them to sit with a sweeper in front of Stevie (McDonnell) and Jamie (Clarke) and it was very hard for us to get scores.”