Monaghan manager Seamus 'Banty' McEnaney expressed his pride in his team as they fought back to beat Armagh in an Ulster SFC semi-final, which took place just hours after the death of the county's Under-20 football captain Brendan Óg Duffy.
The Farney Men prevailed in a classic encounter to beat Armagh 4-17 to 2-21, but Banty said 'sadness' and 'devastation' were his over-riding emotions in a week when the county also suffered the loss of long-time sponsor Philip Traynor, who was a personal friend of the Monaghan manager.
Duffy was Banty's captain when he was Monaghan minor manager and he spoke to RTÉ's Saturday Sport about his close relationship with the tragic teenager.
"Ogie Duffy was my captain on the minor team and only managers and captains can understand the relationship that is there.
"We were devastated last night when we got the news.
"We had a tough week, we lost our sponsor, one of my personal best friends as well, it's been a tough week. If both men were here I'd be absolutely delighted.
"I'm very proud of my team, they fought to the end when it looked like all was gone.
"They fought to the bitter end. And I am really proud of them, " said Banty. "My over-riding emotion at the moment is sadness - devastated."
The Croke Park crowd pays tribute to Brendan Óg Duffy, the Monaghan Under-20 football captain, who died tragically in a road accident on Friday night #RTEGAA— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) July 17, 2021
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Banty said while many of his players would not have known Duffy personally, others, like Aaron Mulligan, would have been truly devastated by the news, and he paid tribute to the team's ability to play after such a tragedy.
"I had to be loyal to this group of players. We had to show trust in them. A lot of these players maybe wouldn't know Ogie as well as the younger group. Aaron Mulligan like, we have loads of lads who would be very friendly with him.
"I had to set aside my emotions and I did that, I did a lot of homework this morning to get myself ready for the team meeting and thankfully it has worked out."
Banty's team raced into an early lead thanks to a flurry of goals but allowed Armagh to fight back during a topsy-turvy game that was in the balance heading intot he final seconds.
"It was an emotional occasion from the start and our lads played really well. They conceded a few scores and we'll look at that, it was a huge score to concede, but it was a huge tally to put up as well.
"We're delightted to get the win, and we're delighted to be back in the Ulster final, it's six years since we have been there."