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Armagh beat Monaghan by single point for McKenna Cup victory at Clones

Kieran McGeeney. Pic by John Merry

Armagh picked up their first win of the season after a strong second half performance saw off the challenge on Monaghan in the Dr McKenna Cup in Clones this afternoon.

The Farney men may have scored two goals during an exciting contest at Clones but Kieran McGeeney’s were determined to bounce back from last week’s Dr McKenna Cup defeat against Cavan.

And Armagh did so in style with every player playing his part and running out 0-16 to 2-09 winners against the current Ulster champions.

Armagh’s determination and resolve was shown throughout and they were first to score just 15 seconds in, courtesy of Andrew Murnin, but Monaghan soon replied through a Barry McGinn free.

Man-of-the-match Stefan Campbell added for Armagh and Colin Walshe replied.

Niall McConville replaced Andrew Murnin and also added his name to the score sheet almost right away and Ballymacnab’s Rory Grugan had the visitors leading by two points.

But a goal from Barry McGinn 15 minutes into the half and a further point from Karl O’Connell – with another converted free from McGinn for good measure – had Monaghan leading by two points.

Matthew McNeice saved any blushes for Armagh when he pulled off a great save from Fergal McGeough moments later.

Two further points from Stefan Campbell for Armagh, and Monaghan’s Daniel McKenna, another free for McGinn and Gavin McParland rounded off the half with a great score to leave the Orchard County trailing by two points.

Half-time: Armagh 0-07 Monaghan 1-6

Armagh came out and the determination renewed as Stefan Campbell added his fourth with a free to narrow the gap.

Barry McGinn pulled one back and then came a devastating blow just five minutes into the second half, when Owen Duffy coolly fired home for Monaghan.

Armagh negated the effect with three without reply, further scores from Niall McConville, Stefan Campbell and Ethan Rafferty, with McNeice denying Duffy a second goal with a great save.

Kieran Duffy scored for Monaghan but Armagh reduced the deficit, trailing by just a point with further scores from Miceal McKenna and Rory Grugan.

Ballymacnab team-mate Gavin McParland brought the sides level on 14 points apiece before Armagh surged ahead thanks to Stefan Forker.

Daniel McKenna pulled one back thanks to a free for Monaghan but it was Armagh who were celebrating victory by a solitary point.

Armagh now play University of Ulster at the Athletic Grounds on Wednesday evening with a place in the semi-finlas still within their grasp but they will rely on other results going their way.

Armagh: Matthew McNeice, Ruairi McCaughley, Eugene McVerry, Michael Murray, Stefan Forker, Ciaran McKeever, Aidan Forker, Aaron Findon, Niall Grimley, Rory Grugan, Miceal McKenna, Stefan Campbell, Ethan Rafferty, Andrew Murnin, Gavin McParland.

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