An emotional Seamus McEnaney reflected on the loss of dear friends as he searched for solace in the aftermath of a devastating one-point loss to Tyrone.
Fine margins, he said, were always going to decide this derby encounter, but it was a crisis of a much deeper proportion that the Monaghan boss had to address at half-time.
As his side stared down the barrel of a five points deficit midway through the Ulster final, Banty implored them to search deep into their hears and to delve into their DNA of Farney fearlessness.
And what he witnessed made him glow with pride as they fought back to within a point, but no closer.
“We talked about work ethic, we talked about the fight that’s in our DNA.
“I asked them to leave every single ounce of energy on that field before we come back in, and if we did that, I’d be proud of them. And I am proud of them.”
The game was still there for them, 15 outfield players hunting down Tyrone and pressing for a priceless equaliser.
But goalkeeper Rory Beggan was caught with a ball over the top, Mattie Donnelly charging towards an empty goal in the dying moments.
But somehow Beggan got back to execute the textbook tackle and keep his side in the game – fine margins.
“I thought Rory Beggan’s tackle was actually an Ulster Championship winning tackle that would win us the game,” said McEnaney.
“And we got an opportunity after that but, unfortunately, it would go down in the memory of a lot of people had that ended up in us winning the game. It was an unbelievable recovery.”
On reflection, it was a failure to compete in the first half that ultimately cost Monaghan a first Croke Park win over Tyrone in four attempts.
“Coming in today we had only lost one game in 2021.
“We were confident we would give a performance, we thought the game was a 50-50 game.
“Unfortunately we didn’t bring enough energy, enough aggression, enough of what we wanted to bring to the first quarter.”
And all that in the shadow of a pall of grief that has descended upon the GAA in Monaghan.
“We have had a difficult couple of weeks. First, it started with the loss of our sponsor, a personal friend of my own, Philip Traynor.
“Then we lost Brendan Óg Ó Dufaigh, which was a huge loss, but our group stayed extremely focused.
“I couldn’t be any more proud of the group of players.”