Karl O'Connell happy to be involved at 'business' end of Championship
By Cian O'Connell
With momentum increasing and belief rising Monaghan's Ulster Semi-Final defeat to Fermanagh seems a long time ago now.
Waterford, Leitrim, Laois, Kildare, and Galway have been beaten, while Monaghan also drew with Kerry during a six match unbeaten Championship run.
Karl O'Connell's dash has been evident throughout this brilliant burst for Monaghan, who have advanced to the penultimate stage in the All Ireland series for the first time since 1988. "It is, but we knew within the squad that the Fermanagh game was a mishap," O'Connell says.
"That happens, you win games, you lose games, it's all about bouncing back. We got back to where we wanted to be, very unfortunate not to get to an Ulster final, but Ulster finals are long gone and over, it's the business end of the year and we're very happy to be here.
"The next few weeks is going to be great, we'll enjoy it as much as we have all year and we'll take any team that comes, we're looking forward to it."
Representing Monaghan brings joy and pride to O'Connell, who only commenced playing Gaelic Football in his late teenage years. "I've always said it, it's a big thing playing for Monaghan," O'Connell admits.
"I don't care what it is, if it's a McKenna Cup, if it's a challenge game, always take pride in pulling on the Monaghan jersey because there's a lot of good players that have represented this jersey in the past.
"At the end of the day it goes back your club and your family, that win (against Galway) is just as important as much as my club and my family and friends. It's just nice to be playing and I love playing for Monaghan and I'll try to play as long as I can. Very happy with how everything is going."
Monaghan responded to the Kerry stalemate impressively and it wasn't hard to get over that disappointment according to O'Connell. "No no, absolutely not," O'Connell responds. "You've got to understand, this is a three-game process, it's a League format.
"We got the ideal start alright, but even if you lose a game, you still have plenty of chances to get through so it was straight to the drawing board like any other game. "Look at the mistakes that we made and then we move on from there, that's the way it's been all year so no disappointment whatsoever. It was one game and we knew we had another game after it."
Now Monaghan return to Croke Park for a clash with Tyrone, but O'Connell isn't overly concerned about the fact that they have finally reached the last four for the first time in three decades.
"It's a thing of the past," O'Connell states. "We had objectives at the start of the year, we got them and we're at a stage now where we're not even thinking about that. The last four teams will feel like they can win the whole thing, and that's true. Anyone can win this Championship."