Monaghan manager Malachy O’Rourke was happy with the draw though he was bemoaning the fact that they had not a few more scores on the board at half-time.
The former Fermanagh player felt that Monaghan’s first half play deserved to have a few more scores on the board than the six points their first half yielded.
Donegal and Monaghan were level 0-6 each at half-time at the end of a cagey and closely contested opening 35 minutes.
“In the first half we had lot of possession and had a lot more of the ball than Donegal and we would have been disappointed with our finishing even though we were playing some good football,” said O’Rourke
He was also disappointed when his charges went three up in the second half that they did not kick on and close out the game.
“In the second half we were in the ascendancy and went three up but we seemed to drop off again, though in fairness to Donegal they came strong at us.”
The Monaghan boss was in no doubt but that Odhran MacNiallais’s 52nd minute goal was the defining score of the second period. The goal propelled Donegal back in front, 1-8 to 0-10, after having been three points behind minutes earlier.
“The goal was a big game changer though towards the end I thought we showed great character.
“We went two down but we battled back and we never panicked and in fairness we were able to eke out the draw.”
O’Rourke did not agree that it was a pretty feisty affair though he did admit a great rivalry had developed between Donegal and Monaghan in recent years.
“The two teams know each other very well. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and when you keep meeting each other over a period of time there is a wee bit of rivalry built up.
“Overall I thought it was a tough, hard match and we get another day at it.”
He was happy with the six minutes of injury time and admitted he would have liked another couple as he felt the momentum was with Monaghan in the closing stages.
“When the board was held up there was six minutes left and we were happy with that because at that stage we were a couple of points down.
“When we drew level we would have liked another couple of minutes but we have no complaints and we are happy enough to get another day at it.”
He also admitted even though Donegal were down to 14 following the sending off of Martin McElhinney 20 minutes into the second half, they still found Donegal difficult to break down.
“The way Donegal play with a lot of men behind the ball, going down the man does not affect them all that much.
“Playing teams that play a more conventional game it might be easier but not against Donegal given the system they play.
“We are disappointed with the fact that we went 0-10 to 0-7 up in the second half and were in control of the game. We are disappointed to give away the goal but in fairness to Donegal they came back well and had plenty of play, too, at stages.
“Overall we were happy to come back and get the draw and another crack at it and play it all over again and it will probably much of the same again in the replay.”
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