Ciaran Whelan expects Monaghan to have a major say in where Sam Maguire ends up this year, and backed Malachy O'Rourke's men to escape from their All-Ireland SFC Super 8s group.

The Farney dealt with Laois in Navan to become the final team in the inaugural championship group stages. They're housed in Group 1 alongside Kerry, Galway and Kildare, who they face in Round 1 this weekend. 

Monaghan were shocked by Fermanagh in the Ulster SFC semi-final but have recovered impressively from the setback to ensure their summer will stretch into August. 

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A strong Allianz Football League Division 1 campaign promised much; now Whelan expects them to deliver.

"They're where they wanted to be," he said on The Sunday Game.

"They're in the Super 8s. You've got to put Monaghan's form in context. They had one blip, against Fermanagh. They took their eye off the ball.

"They done the same against Down last year. Probably their weakness is that sometimes against the underdog they lack concentration and they tune out.

"But in general their performances have been very consistent. They'd a brilliant league campaign, very solid defensively, beat the Dubs, beat Tyrone.

"After the Tyrone game we would have had them as contenders and I see no reason why not now. They were very clinical in the first half (against Laois).

"They got their match-ups right, they cut off Laois's long-ball supply, dominated midfield, kicked scores from play and were supported by a great goalkeeper.

"That gave them the platform. Yes, they fell asleep in the second half for a 10 or 15-minute patch and Laois kind of came back at them, but they were the much better side.

"They have a lot of quality right throughout the team. They are in a position in the Super 8s where they will fancy their chances. They're going into that saying, 'we can be in the top two', no doubt about it."  

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