Armagh march on

ARMAGH staged a strong finish to defeat Monaghan in the Ulster SHC quarter-final at Pairc Esler.

The Farney men threatened an upset when they closed to within a point midway through the second half, but the Orchard side sensed the danger and pushed on for victory, with a goal from sub Neil Duffy.

Monaghan held their own in the opening quarter when Mickey McHugh had a penalty deflected over the bar, and Stephen Lambe converted a free. Paul McCormack’s two early Armagh points followed in a productive spell which saw them go four points clear, with Conor Corvan scoring the pick of their points, and centre back Ruairi McGrattan thumping over a long-range effort.

But Monaghan were right back in it when Brian McGuigan scrambled home a 29th-minute goal.

However, the Orchard men responded with a solo goal from Corvan four minutes later.

They went six points clear through Martin Moen, before Ronan Meegan pulled back a Farney point.

Armagh led by 1-8 to 1-3 at the break, and stretched the advantage through Gaffney and Moen.

For the second time, Monaghan’s McHugh could only manage a point from a penalty, but they grabbed a second goal when Lambe gave Doherty no chance with a bullet-like 44th-minute shot .

Sub Fergal Rafter swept over a free from long range to reduce the deficit to a single point with 20 minutes to play.

But Armagh struck for their second goal in the 50th minute when substitute Neil Duffy finished Barry McCormack’s free to the net. And they finished strongly with a string of stylish points from Carville, Gaffney and Michael Lennon.

Scorers for Armagh: C Corvan 1-2, N Duffy 1-0, R Gaffney 0-6 (4f), D Carville, P McCormack (1f), M Moen 0-2 each, R McGrattan, B McCormack (f), M Lennon 0-1 each.

Scorers for Monaghan: S Lambe 1-1 (0-1f), B McGuigan 1-0, M McHugh 0-3 (0-2 pen), R Meegan 0-2, F Rafter 0-1 (f)

ARMAGH: S Doherty, B Mallon, N Curry, F Woods, JJ Hughes, R McGrattan, B McCormack, D Carville, M Moen, C Carvill, P Heaney, R Gaffney, C Corvan, P McCormack, M Lennon.

Subs: N Duffy for P McCormack (46), C Reid for Heaney (50), T Duffy for Lennon (66), A Mackle for Corvan (66)

MONAGHAN: H Byrne, A Lambe, P Murphy, P Treanor, M Treanor, P Dowdall, J McHugh, G Boyd, T Hilliard, S Lambe, S Leonard, E MacSuibhne, B McGuigan, M McHugh, R Meegan.

Subs: G Dooley for A Lambe (25), F Rafter for MacSuibhne (43), PJ Boyle for M McHugh (65)

Referee: D Magee (Down).

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