Allianz Football League Roinn 1

Monaghan 1-12 1-14 Armagh

Round 1
Sean Hurson
Allianz FL D1: Armagh earn victory
Shane Carey, Monaghan, and Ross Finn, Armagh, in Allianz Football League Division One action.

Allianz FL D1: Armagh earn victory

Allianz Football League Division One

Armagh 1-14 Monaghan 1-12

By Colm Shalvey at Castleblayney

Armagh made a winning start to the Allianz NFL for the third time in a row since their return to Division One when they held off a late charge from Monaghan in a topsy-turvy derby in front of a sell-out crowd in Castleblayney.

Some wasteful finishing saw Armagh convert just over a quarter of their scoring chances in the first half, but they found their shooting boots in a strong start to the second half that put them in the driving seat. Monaghan worked their way back into contention, but a brace of inspirational points from Stefan Campbell helped guide Armagh to a hard-earned win.

Both 'keepers, Rory Beggan and Ethan Rafferty, were also on the scoresheet, however, with Rafferty's effort coming from open play and helping to give Armagh a foothold in the game after they had endured a lengthy wait for their second point.

Monaghan were 0-4 to 0-1 ahead by then, via Mícheál Bannigan, Dessie Ward and Beggan, but Tiernan Kelly's goal turned things in favour of Kieran McGeeney's side. Rían O'Neill and Rory Grugan were also on target as Armagh moved ahead for the first time, but Stephen O’Hanlon, Seán Jones and Conor McCarthy helped Monaghan change ends on level terms at 0-7 to 1-4.

The game hinged on a high-octane start to the second half by Armagh, who penned the home side into their own half by winning six consecutive kick-outs and converting their possession into five points (three from forward marks). O'Neill, Stephen Sheridan, Andrew Murnin and Aidan Nugent were all on target during this purple patch that put the Orchard County in command.

Already starting minus some of their most experienced players, Monaghan suffered another setback early on when All-Star nominee Jack McCarron limped off, but they slowly regrouped and after almost going scoreless through the third quarter, they hit a quick burst of 1-1 from Conor McCarthy, the goal from a penalty.

As the stakes rose, so did the tempo of the game, if not the quality, with turnovers becoming more frequent and the crowd volume increasing.

Points from O'Hanlon and Bannigan, either side of an O'Neill free, inched Monaghan closer, but Campbell stepped up with two big scores to keep them at bay. Bannigan and Shane Carey were on target as Monaghan kept going to the end, but Ross McQuillan fisted over at the end of a storming run to ensure that Armagh made the short journey home with two points on the board.

Armagh host Mayo in round two, while Monaghan travel to Killarney to take on All-Ireland champions Kerry.

Scorers for Armagh: Rían O’Neill 0-5 (2ms, 1f), Tiernan Kelly 1-0, Stefan Campbell 0-2, Stephen Sheridan 0-1 (m), Aidan Nugent 0-2, Ethan Rafferty 0-1, Andrew Murnin 0-1, Ross McQuillan 0-1, Rory Grugan 0-1 (f).

Scorers for Monaghan: Conor McCarthy 1-2 (1-0 pen, 2fs), Mícheál Bannigan 0-4 (1f), Stephen O’Hanlon 0-2, Dessie Ward 0-1, Seán Jones 0-1, Shane Carey 0-1, Rory Beggan 0-1 (f).

Armagh: Ethan Rafferty; Aaron McKay, Aidan Forker, Ross Finn; Conor O’Neill, Barry McCambridge, Jarly Óg Burns; Stephen Sheridan, Stefan Campbell; Jemar Hall, Rory Grugan, Tiernan Kelly; Rían O’Neill (Joint-Capt.), Andrew Murnin, Aidan Nugent (Joint-Capt.).

Subs: Jason Duffy for Hall (H-T); Niall Grimley for Sheridan (58); Ross McQuillan for Murnin (64).

Monaghan: Rory Beggan; Thomas McPhillips, Kieran Duffy (Capt.), Ryan Wylie; Kevin Loughran, Conor Boyle, Colm Lennon; Killian Lavelle, Dessie Ward; Joel Wilson, Mícheál Bannigan, Stephen O’Hanlon; Shane Carey; Conor McCarthy, Jack McCarron.

Subs: Seán Jones for McCarron (inj., 2); Karl O’Connell for Lennon (H-T); Karl Gallagher for Wilson (51).

Referee: Seán Hurson (Tyrone).