Conor McManus revealed that a half-time call for more urgency sparked Monaghan's second-half rout of Down.

The Ulster champions began their defence of the Anglo-Celt Cup with a convincing 2-22 to 0-09 triumph over the Mourne men, but McManus admitted Monaghan were far from impressed with their three-point half-time lead.

The star forward, who popped over six frees in his eight-point haul, told RTÉ Radio 1's Sunday Sport: "At half-time we were three points up and nobody in the stands probably saw that result coming. 

"We played well in the second half - we had a lot to do on our performance in the first half, we wouldn't have been happy with a lot of aspects of our play.

"We touched up on that at half-time and put a bit more urgency into our game."

That urgency yielded goals from Kieran Hughes and substitute Owen Duffy as the Farneymen turned a 0-09 to 0-06 interval advantage into a 19-point final margin.

"We said we were going to go for goals, the chances just came, and they just put daylight between us and finished the game off."

McManus played down any suggestion of ring rust being behind Monaghan's sluggish start.

"It's Ulster championship football, the first 15 or 20 minutes are always fairly cagey. Down were set up very defensively, so it was just a matter of being patient and playing our way into the game."