Monaghan pulled off the latest coup in the GAA’s summer of shocks as Malachy O’Rourke’s heroes sent All-Ireland champions Donegal packing in the Ulster final.
The hometown venue of Clones went ballistic as Monaghan scored a shock 0-13 to 0-7 win to land their first Ulster title in 25 years.
They are now through to the All-Ireland quarter-finals with Donegal set to meet Laois in the final series of qualifiers on Saturday night.
Monaghan star Conor McManus told reporters afterwards: “We knew we had the players. We knew we had the talent in that dressing-room, that’s as good a squad as there is anywhere in Ireland I believe.
“We knew we had that ability and we went out and delivered. We worked hard. From the start of the year every man worked hard, there were no excuses and we delivered. This is as good as it gets so far.”
Donegal boss Jim McGuinness suffered his first defeat since taking charge in 2011 but had no excuses.
He said: “I have to say we had a great run ourselves after we made the breakthrough in 2011 and Monaghan made the breakthrough today.
“And you wouldn’t deny the people and the players of Monaghan that opportunity. It’s absolutely incredible to be part of a day like this and we were very fortunate over the last two years to experience it. And it’s up to these people now to experience it and enjoy it.
“We’ll try and carry ourselves in a certain manner in defeat and try to move forward as graciously as we can.
“We’re bitterly disappointed but at the end of the day someone’s going to win and someone’s going to lose, and Monaghan were the better team at the end of the day.”
Mayo are now favourites for the All-Ireland and continued their unbeaten run this summer with a comprehensive win over surprise packets London in Castlebar in the Connacht football final.
The third round of the football qualifiers saw Tyrone beat Kildare, Laois win at Wexford, Cavan shock hosts Derry and Galway surprise Armagh.
Tyrone now play Meath, London face Cavan, Galway meet Cork and Donegal take on Wexford next weekend.
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