Colm Shalvey reports from the Athletic Grounds
ARMAGH REMAIN TOP of the Allianz NFL after they came from five points down in a tense draw at home to 14-man neighbours Monaghan on Saturday night.
Monaghan were full value for their four-point half-time lead, which should have been more but for ten wides, but the sending-off of their top scorer Conor McManus meant they played more than half an hour with 14 men (and ten minutes with 13 after Dessie Ward was sin-binned).
Despite seeing Rian O’Neill crash a penalty off the crossbar, a goal by sub Conor Turbitt lit the fuse on Armagh’s challenge and they looked set for a third straight win when they moved ahead for the first time in the game just past the hour mark. Monaghan regained their composure, however, with a Jack McCarron free entering added time earning them their second draw of the Division One campaign.
The teams managed just a point each in the first 12 minutes, with an early opener by Conor McManus being cancelled out by the in-form Rian O’Neill, who would have to limp off just before the half-hour mark, only to return ten minutes into the second half.
Monaghan were creating the better chances and they eventually moved ahead with points by Ryan McAnespie and Mícheál Bannigan, although a second free by O’Neill kept Armagh in touch.
Another burst of scores by Jack McCarron, Killian Lavelle and Shane Carey increased Monaghan’s lead and although Jason Duffy ended 17 scoreless minutes for Armagh, a quick brace by McManus moved the visitors five clear. A fisted point by O’Neill’s replacement in the Armagh attack, Conor Turbitt, made it 0-8 to 0-4 at half-time.
Both sides missed goal chances in the opening minutes of the second half, with Stefan Campbell and Bannigan unable to find the net and the latter being quickly followed by McManus being sent off. Despite seeing Rian O’Neill crash a penalty off the bar, Armagh got right back into it when Turbitt fired home the only goal moments later. Fellow subs Campbell and Oisín O’Neill were also on target for the hosts, before a fine score by Tiernan Kelly edged them ahead.
McCarron ended a lengthy scoring drought for Monaghan, who held onto possession for a sustained spell during added time as the sides had to settle for as point apiece.
Scorers for Armagh: Conor Turbitt 1-1; Rian O’Neill 0-2f; Jason Duffy 0-1; Oisín O’Neill 0-1; Oisín O’Neill 0-1; Tiernan Kelly 0-1.
Scorers for Monaghan: Conor McManus 0-4 (2f); Jack McCarron 0-2f; Killian Lavelle 0-1; Ryan McAnespie 0-1; Shane Carey 0-1; Mícheál Bannigan 0-1.
1 Blain Hughes (Carrickcruppen)
4. Aaron McKay (Dromintee), 3 Aidan Forker (Maghery), 2 Paddy Burns (Forkhill)
5 Connaire Mackin (Shane O’Neills), 6 Niall Rowland (Culloville), 7 Jarly Óg Burns (Silverbridge)
8 Ciarán Mackin (Shane O’Neills), 9 Stephen Sheridan (Forkhill)
10 Jemar Hall (Forkhill), 11 Rory Grugan (Ballymacnab), 12 Tiernan Kelly (Clann Éireann)
15 Aidan Nugent (Joint-Capt., Cullyhanna), 14 Rian O’Neill (Joint-Capt., Crossmaglen), 13 Jason Duffy (Cullyhanna).
Subs: 21 Conor Turbitt for O’Neill (inj., 27); 20 Oisín O’Neill (Crossmaglen) for Sheridan, 22 Stefan Campbell for Rowland (both H-T); 14 Rian O’Neill (Crossmaglen) for Duffy (45); 19 Mark Shields (Whitecross) for Hall (56); 23 Niall Grimley (Madden) for Connaire Mackin (64).
Get closer to the stories that matter with exclusive analysis, insight and debate in The42 Membership.
Become a Member
1 Rory Beggan (Scotstown)
3 Conor Boyle (Clontibret), 2 Kieran Duffy (Latton), 4 Ryan Wylie (Capt., Ballybay);
7 Killian Lavelle (Clontibret), 6 Dessie Ward (Ballybay), 10 Ryan McAnespie (Emyvale);
8 Darren Hughes (Scotstown), 9 Niall Kearns (Seán McDermotts);
12 Shane Carey (Scotstown), 11 Mícheál Bannigan (Aughnamullen), 13 Andrew Woods (Inniskeen)
26 Conor McManus (Clontibret), 14 Jack McCarron (Currin), 15 Gary Mohan (Truagh).
Subs: 17 Kieran Hughes (Scotstown) for Kearns (inj., 17); 5 Karl O’Connell (Tyholland) for McAnespie (inj., 49); 25 Colin Walshe (Doohamlet) for Woods (54); 19 Aaron Mulligan (Latton) for Mohan (61).
Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry).
The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!