McManus hopeful Mone and Corey will be back for more
Monaghan footballer Conor McManus is hopeful that both Vinnie Corey and Dessie Mone will commit to playing for the Farney County again in 2019.
The long-serving defensive duo are very much the elder statesmen of the panel by now, but McManus isn’t anticipating any imminent retirement announcements.
“Hopefully none,” said McManus. “There hasn't been anybody. You'd probably...the two eldest men on the team are me two clubmates, Vinnie and Dessie, I've been dropping bits and pieces of hints this last couple of weeks just to make sure they're not going too far.
“At the end of the day, it's their decision, Vinnie is playing with Monaghan since 2003, Dessie came in in 2004, the boys are there a long time.
“They owe nothing to anybody in Monaghan but I'd be hopeful they'll not be going too far maybe for another year.”
Monaghan have had a good track record in recent years of convincing all of the best players in the county to make the commitment to play at the highest level.
That’s why they have one of the most settled and battle-hardened panels in the country and McManus believes it’ll be a serious factor in their favour again in 2019.
“There's probably not a player in Monaghan that Malachy (O’Rourke) doesn't know at this stage,” said McManus.
“He gets the best out of them and makes it an environment where players want to come and are looking forward to coming training on a Tuesday or Thursday night.
“You're all the time learning and trying to improve and Malachy is all the time pushing you for those improvements.
“It's an enjoyable dressing-room to be in, look it, there's days when it's challenging and you need that to improve but there's an environment there within Monaghan at the minute where people want to be on the panel and there's nobody looking to get off the panel or opting out for a year.
“Everybody is pushing and driving to get as much out of themselves and the team as they can.
“I think counties need that continuity and that solid base. We're coming back in whenever it is, December or January or whenever it is, and we're familiar with what's ahead of us, we're familiar with what we've done over the last number of years and we know what we need to improve on.
“We're not starting from scratch all over again, there's a familiarity with what's going on. I definitely think that is a big thing, a part to play in it.”
Monaghan reached the All-Ireland semi-final this year for the first time since 1988 which has to count as progress.
But the manner of their one-point defeat to Tyrone in that match meant McManus was never before as disappointed after a Championship exit as he was this year.
“Ah there's no doubt, there's no doubt,” he said. “There's elements of you on the day felt that you could have been there, thinking what would you have been doing and what if, those things do go through your head.
“That's natural but I suppose it's a pointless exercise at the same time because we had our chance in the semi-final and between one thing and another we didn't get over the line and didn't do it.
“It's just a matter of looking ahead to next year, seeing what we can improve on. Definitely, year on year, this past five or six years under Malachy, we have improved year on year as a team.
“Maybe some of the results through that period mightn't have reflected that but as a team we would have always felt we were improving. I think definitely this was our best year, with some of the football that we played.
“There's room for improvement again and if we can bring the same levels of improvement again, we'll hope to be there or thereabouts. Like that, every other team in the country is looking for improvement as well so there's no guarantees.”