The Armagh senior footballers got their first win of 2016 on Sunday with a dominant final twenty minute spell bringing them across the line.
The ball had barely been thrown in when Armagh target man Andrew Murnin opened the scoring, but it was soon cancelled out by a Barry McGinn free kick. Points were traded with Stefan Campbell and Colin Walshe getting on the score sheet, before Armagh were forced into an early switch with the injured Andrew Murnin making way for Niall McConville. McConville announced his arrival with immediate effect by slotting over with his first touch of the ball, after a great ball in from Campbell. Rory Grugan pushed Armagh further ahead with a great score from the left flank. The home side, however, replied with the first of their goals coming from Barry McGinn, quickly followed up by points from Karl O’Connell and McGinn himself. With half time approaching Monaghan’s Fergal McGeough found himself through on goal but the quick reactions of Matthew McNeice who pushed the ball to the left and wide kept Armagh hopes alive. The home side kept pushing and points from Daniel McKenna and Barry McGinn were cancelled out by efforts from Campbell and Gavin McParland.
Despite the positive start, Armagh trailed at half time by two and only for some wayward shooting from Monaghan, the gap could have been bigger. Half time Ard Mhacha 0-7 Muineachán 1-6.
Stefan Campbell opened the second half scoring from a free, which was quickly cancelled by a Barry McGinn effort. The home support were again celebrating after 10 minutes of the half with Owen Duffy evading the Armagh defence to finish for their second three pointer. Armagh then upped their game and a string of points from McConville, Campbell and Ethan Rafferty brought Armagh back to within two. Kieran Duffy’s attempt looked to have temporarily stopped the Armagh momentum, but consecutive scores from Miceal McKenna, Rory Grugan, Gavin McParland and Stefan Forker put Armagh ahead. Ethan Rafferty added another with normal time over and a late free from Daniel McKenna was sent over the bar to leave the Orchardmen celebrating their first win of the year by the narrowest of margins.
Armagh’s Stefan Campbell was rewarded for his super performance by being named Bank of Ireland man of the match. Full time Ard Mhacha 0-16 Muineachán 2-9.
Next up for Armagh is a home game on Wednesday evening against the University of Ulster at 8pm in the Athletic Grounds.
Armagh: Matthew McNeice, Ruairí McCaughley, Eugene McVerry, Michael Murray, Stefan Forker 0-1, Ciarán McKeever, Aidan Forker, Aaron Findon, Niall Grimley, Rory Grugan 0-2, Miceal McKenna 0-1, Stefan Campbell 0-5 (0-4 f), Ethan Rafferty 0-2 (0-1 f), Andrew Murnin 0-1, Gavin McParland 0-2
Subs used: Niall McConville 0-2, Jemar Hall, Joe Feeney, Oisín Mac Íomhair, Paul McKenna
Monaghan: Jamie Smith, Kieran Duffy 0-1, Drew Wylie, Niall McKeown, Dessie Mone, Colin Walshe 0-1, Donal Courtney, Neil McAdam, Mark Thornton, Dermot Malone, Stephen Gallogly, Owen Duffy 1-0, Fergal McGeough, Barry McGinn 1-4 (0-4 f), Daniel McKenna 0-2 (0-1 f)
Subs used: Karl O’Connell 0-1, Daryl Treanor, Karl McQuaid, Owen Coyle, Christopher McKenna