NFL Division 1 North: Armagh Win on Division 1 Return
Monaghan Vs Armagh
On their return to the top flight an impressive last quarter from Armagh helped them seal victory against a valiant Monaghan effort in Brewster Park on Sunday.
After 9 years, Armagh made their long-awaited return to division 1 football this afternoon. Kieran McGeeney’s men will be hoping for big things this season following their promotion from division 2 last season. They have brought in former Kerry forward Kieran Donaghy and former Armagh captain Ciaran McKeever to add valuable experience to their coaching team. On the other hand, Monaghan came into the fixture under the management of David McCague following Seamus McEnaney’s suspension for breaching Covid-19 protocols. The breaches also mean that Monaghan lost the right to home advantage with the game being played in Fermanagh,
Despite the Orchard County’s long wait for division 1 football, it only took them 90 seconds to register their first goal of the campaign as they were awarded a penalty which was slotted away by Stefan Campbell. In the first 5 minutes, they blitzed their opponents with an impressive 1-3 without response. Two of these points came from forward Rory Grugan and a Riain O’Neill 45 after Rory Beggan pulled off a great save following a threatening shot from Grugan.
With not even 6 minutes gone, Armagh had a 6-point lead there was a real feeling that they could potentially put this contest to bed early. However, credit must be given to Monaghan as they came back strong. Goalkeeper Began kicked over a 45 before debutant Sean Jones scored a goal putting his team right back into the mix . Aidan Forker extended his teams lead to three with a score just before the first water-break. The back put in a good performance, scoring 3 points. It was 1-01 to 1-04.
In the second quarter, the Farney began to grow more into the fixture, outscoring their opponents 4 points to two in this particular period. Forward Aaron Mulligan started making his presence felt, with some good movement throughout. He kicked two scores in this period along with Michael Brannigan and Stephen O’Hanlon . Grugan and Forker added to their personal tally getting their team two more points. Armagh led by one at the half-time interval 1-05 t0 1-06.
In the 3rd quarter we were treated to a really entertaining back and forth battle. It seemed like neither team was too concerned about tight marking with both sets of players getting plenty of space to work with . Midfielder Oisin O’Neill was enjoying himself in the middle of the park. It was like a seesaw with both teams trading scores. The teams were level on the scoreboard on numerous occasions during this period. Both sets of forwards showcased their ability with some really well-taken scores on both sides. Really good scores from the likes of O’Neill and Mulligan kept their respective teams ticking over. Armagh maintained a one-point lead going into the final water-break. It was 1-11 to 1-12.
Four points in the last quarter helped Kieran McGeeney’s team pull away from their opponents in convincing fashion. The score finished 1-12 to 1-16 as Armagh got their first division 1 victory since 2012. The men in orange and white will host old rivals Tyrone next weekend, with Monaghan traveling to Donegal.
Scorers for Monaghan: A. Mulligan (0-5, 3 frees); S. Jones (1-0); S. O’Hanlon (0-2); C. McManus (0-2, 1 free, 1 mark); M. Bannigan (0-2, 1 free); R. Beggan (0-1, free).
Scorers for Armagh: R. Grugan (0-7, 3 frees); S. Campbell (1-1, 1-0 pen); R. O’Neill (0-3, 1 ’45); A. Forker, C. Turbitt (0-2 each); O. O’Neill (0-1).
Monaghan: R. Beggan; K. Duffy, C. Boyle, R. Wylie (c); K. O’Connell, D. Ward, R.McAnespie; N. Kearns, K. Lavelle; C. McCarthy, A. Mulligan, M. Bannigan; S. Jones, A. Woods, S. O’Hanlon.
Subs: D. Hughes for Kearns, C. McManus for McCarthy (both H-T); K. Hughes for Jones (46); F. Kelly for Lavelle (56); B. McBennett for Bannigan; K McMenamin for Boyle (both 68).
Armagh: B. Hughes; J. Morgan, C. Mackin, A. Forker; G. McCabe; A. McKay, R.Kennedy; N. Grimley, R. O’Neill; J. Hall, C. O’Hanlon, J. Óg Burns; R. Grugan, S.Campbell, O. O’Neill.
Subs: R. McQuillan for Burns, C. Turbitt for McCabe (both H-T); J. Duffy for Forker (56); P. Hughes for O’Hanlon (62).
Referee: C. Branagan (Down).