Corey pays tribute to Karl O’Connell’s continued brilliance

By Michael McMullan

MONAGHAN manager Vinny Corey hailed the overall input of Karl O’Connell aside from his dramatic equaliser in Saturday night’s draw with Ulster champions Derry at Celtic Park.

The sides were level six times before Monaghan twice went three points ahead before four unanswered Derry scores looked like sending the Farney men home empty-handed.

Shane McGuigan’s ninth point had Derry ahead only for Monaghan to launch one last attack and O’Connell to dissect the posts in the fifth minute of injury time with the last kick of the game.

“Karl has been brilliant all year,” Corey said. “For a man of 35 or 36, he owes Monaghan nothing. To pull out a score like that in the 75th minute, it wasn’t just any score, it was a big score with a hostile bit of support and plenty of noise.”

O’Connell won four of Rory Beggan’s kick-outs and two of Derry’s as he pushed up on Paul Cassidy – often the Oakleafers’ outlet – to held Monaghan take control of the game.

On top of that, he went toe to toe with Brendan Rogers in the running stakes in the middle third.

“He (O’Connell) gave us a lot of energy in everything he was doing,” Corey added. “He was paired up with Brendan Rogers and he gave a real power packed performance as well as the last equalising score.”

The result was of the ‘point earned versus point gained’ variety and Corey spoke of how his side put themselves in “a great position” to win the game after turning the tables on their 1-21 to 2-10 humbling 28 days earlier in the Ulster semi-final.

“We are a bit disappointed,” he said. “When you put yourself in a position to win the match, you are disappointed not to win the match.”

Monaghan managed their 10 minutes with 14 men after Gary Mohan’s black card, outscoring Derry 0-3 to 0-2.

“The boys worked very hard in that 10-minute period,” Corey said.

“When you are coming towards the end of the game it is not ideal. We tired a wee bit and they were roared on by the noisy home support.

“Derry are great champions; they have been Ulster champions for the last two years.

“They have come through tight games like that before. They did that just two weeks ago in the Ulster final, after extra time

“We know the calibre they have, but credit to our boys when we were a point down with a noisy home support, we kept our heads to go down the field and get the equaliser.”

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