Armagh open league account against Monaghan

Armagh 1-11 Monaghan 0-13

Armagh 1-11 Monaghan 0-13

Armagh enjoyed their first win of the season in a Division One cliffhanger at the Athletic Grounds today.

Corner back Andy Mallon was the late, late hero, with a winning point in stoppage time to deny a Monaghan side that looked destined for a second victory on the trot.

The Orchard men appeared to be drifting out of the game until substitute Brian Mallon grabbed the only goal of the game six minutes from the end.

Two Paul Finlay frees were cancelled out Steven McDonnell’s early point from a placed ball, and the sides were level at the end of the opening quarter after Rory Grugan and Conor McManus had traded points.

Monaghan full-back Darren Hughes won every ball directed towards Armagh target man Gareth Swift, and it wasn’t until the 26th minute that McManus scored the game’s first point from play.

Grugan followed up with an Armagh score from open play, but the home side had a let-off when McManus sent Christopher McGuinness clear, but the corner forward sent his low shot zipping just wide.

McDonnell nailed another couple to send the homes side in at the interval with a 0-6 to 0-5 lead.

The Farney, now with the strong breeze behind them, hit the lead with scores from Mark Downey and McManus, but just as Armagh had failed to gain advantage from conditions, Monaghan also struggled.

Finlay did bang over a handful of long-range frees, and McManus added to his tally, but Armagh, now playing a shorter, more controlled game, hit some excellent points on the break, with McDonnell, Grugan and Micheal O’Rourke all raising white flags.

McDonnell had just brought the sides level for the eighth time when Finlay and McManus opened up a two points lead with seven minutes to play.

But substitute Brian Mallon plundered a goal after the Monaghan defence had failed to clear McDonnell’s delivery.

Monaghan appeared to have salvaged a point through McManus late on, but deep into stoppage time, Andy Mallon pressed forward to take Gareth Swift’s pass and drill through a dramatic winner.

Armagh: P McEvoy, A Mallon (0-1), B Donaghy, F Moriarty, K Dyas, C McKeever, P Duffy, K Toner, C Vernon, R Grugan (0-4, 1f), M O’Rourke (0-1), M Mackin, BJ Padden, G Swift, S McDonnell (0-5, 2f).

Subs: B Mallon (1-0) for Padden, J Lavery for Mackin.

Monaghan: M Keogh, K Duffy, D Hughes, C Walshe, C Galligan, D Mone, D Hughes. N McAdam, D Clerkin, G Doogan, M Downey (0-1), J Turley, C McGuinness, P Finlay (0-7, 5f), C McManus (0-5, 2f).

Subs: T Freeman for McGuinness, O Lennon for Turley, S Smith for Downey

Referee: C Reilly (Meath).

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