Monaghan manager Malachy O’Rourke says he was delighted with the way his side set a positive tone early on in their Ulster final victory over Donegal, but feels his side were written off before the game.
The Farney caused a surprise in their 0-13 to 0-07 victory over the All-Ireland champions and in doing so collected their first provincial title since 1988.
Speaking amid joyous scenes in the aftermath of the famous win in Clones, O’Rourke felt it was important that his side put Jimmy McGuinness’ outfit on the back foot early on.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, he said: “We felt we had to make a good start. Donegal hadn’t been behind in many of their matches, but if they had to chase the game from the off, we knew we could make life hard for them
“In saying that, we had to be mentally strong when they did come back at us in the second half. Thankfully, we were and it’s great for the county to have won an Ulster title after such a long gap.
"I suppose we were written off coming into the game. The first two games against Antrim and Cavan, it didn't give people much of an idea of what we were going to play today.
"But we felt we were going well in training. We had a great focus. We felt that if we carried out the plan we wouldn't be far away."
O'Rourke said he was delighted that the hard work for his players had paid off: "They have put so much work in over the years. We came in under the radar, but we were relaxed and focused and had a plan in mind. The plan was well executed.
“After such a long wait it’s great for the county to win an Ulster title again.”