All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifiers Round 2
ARMAGH 2-17 MONAGHAN 1-12
By Colm Shalvey at St. Tiernach’s Park, Clones.
Armagh stayed in the All-Ireland SFC with an impressive qualifier derby win over Monaghan in Clones. There was little to choose between the teams in a cracking opening half, but having changed ends a point to the good, Armagh went through the gears after the restart, hitting an unanswered 1-4 in the third quarter.
Armagh outscored the home side by 2-6 to 1-2 in the second half, with Rian O’Neill getting both goals to lead a total of 13 scorers for the Orchard County.
Monaghan took just 30 seconds to open the scoring through Jack McCarron, but Armagh hit back quickly via Mark Shields. That exchange set the tone for an open first half, which saw both sides get into double figures. Conor McManus and Kieran Hughes were on target for the hosts, either side of a Brendan Donaghy point for Armagh, who went on to hit three in a row as the game reached the ten-minute mark.
Jarlath Óg Burns, Rian O’Neill and Paul Hughes were the scorers as Armagh moved two ahead. Although McManus replied with his second free, Stefan Campbell then joined the growing list of Armagh scorers, but Monaghan stayed in touch with a superb score from McManus.
Jemar Hall and Aidan Nugent added further points for the visitors, but a brace of ‘45s by Rory Beggan and a free from similar range by McManus levelled it up again. First-time SFC starter Mícheál Bannigan edged Monaghan ahead on the half-hour mark, before Jamie Clarke opened his account at the other end.
A Conor McCarthy point was cancelled out by a fisted effort from Hall, before Andrew Murnin tapped over the last point of the first half, leaving Armagh ahead by 0-11 to 0-10.
Armagh began the second half on the front foot with fine points from midfield partners Niall Grimley and Jarlath Óg Burns and after Monaghan had lost Kieran Duffy to a black card, Aidan Forker swung over another excellent score for the leaders.
Armagh got the game’s key score on 47 minutes when O’Neill slid home the opening goal from close range after Nugent had been denied by Monaghan keeper Beggan. Clarke clipped over a free to open up an eight-point gap and it took all of 22 minutes before Monaghan got their first score of the second half through Dessie Ward.
Clarke slipped a pass in for O’Neill to fire home his second goal that effectively ended the game as a contest near the hour mark. McManus and Clarke swapped points from frees, before McCarron squeezed a shot into the net to give Monaghan a glimmer of hope.
Monaghan were unable to add to their tally, however, and Armagh sealed a deserved win when sub Charlie Vernon fisted over deep into added time. Armagh progress to Round 3, with the draw to be made on Monday morning.
Scorers for Monaghan: Conor McManus 0-5 (4f), Jack McCarron 1-1, Rory Beggan 0-2 (‘45s), Kieran Hughes 0-1, Conor McCarthy 0-1, Mícheál Bannigan 0-1, Dessie Ward 0-1.
Scorers for Armagh: Rian O’Neill 2-1 (0-1f), Jamie Clarke 0-3 (2f), Jarlath Óg Burns 0-2, Jemar Hall 0-2, Aidan Forker 0-1, Mark Shields 0-1, Paul Hughes 0-1, Niall Grimley 0-1, Stefan Campbell 0-1, Aidan Nugent 0-1, Brendan Donaghy 0-1, Andrew Murnin 0-1, Charlie Vernon 0-1.
MONAGHAN: Rory Beggan; Conor Boyle, Kieran Duffy, Ryan Wylie; Karl O’Connell, Fintan Kelly, Vincent Corey; Niall Kearns, Kieran Hughes; Ryan McAnespie, Conor McCarthy, Dessie Ward; Mícheál Bannigan, Jack McCarron, Conor McManus. Subs: Drew Wylie for Duffy (black card, 45), Stephen O’Hanlon for Bannigan (51), Shane Carey for McAnespie (53), Barry McGinn for Kearns (58).
ARMAGH: Blaine Hughes; Aidan Forker, Aaron McKay, Paddy Burns; Brendan Donaghy, Mark Shields, Paul Hughes; Jarlath Óg Burns, Niall Grimley; Stefan Campbell, Aidan Nugent, Jemar Hall; Jamie Clarke, Rian O’Neill, Andrew Murnin.Subs: Rory Grugan for Murnin (inj., 40), Charlie Vernon for Grimley (inj., 67), Jason Duffy for Nugent (71), Joe McElroy for P Burns (74).
Referee: Ciarán Branagan (Down).