Armagh 3-25 Monaghan 1-10
Armagh convincingly dispatched of Monaghan with a great display on Sunday afternoon, winning by a huge 21 points, and now sit top of Division 3A with four points following two wins from their first two games.
Monaghan put up a bit of a fight in the opening five minutes but missed chances meant they only led through a Fergal Rafter free. Armagh powered past the Farney challenge after that and had the result beyond doubt after 15 minutes.
Paddy McBride was outstanding in the middle of the park for Armagh, constantly driving forward and creating opportunities and it was McBride who got his side up and running with a powerful shot after seven minutes.
Scores from Tiarnan O’Neill and two Dean Gaffney points (1 free) saw Armagh in complete control of the game and their relentless press on the Monaghan puck outs meant the travelling side couldn’t get their hands on the ball.
McBride was again involved, laying off his midfield partner Odhran Curry for his first score while McBride gathered possession from the resulting puck out and sent the Orchard on their way again with a perfect drive finding full forward Eoin McGuinness.
McGuinness shipped the ball across to Danny Magee who for a split second liked to be in on goal but the Sean Treacy’s sharpshooter opted to fire the ball over the bar and put his side five points ahead.
Monaghan reduced the gap with another Rafter score but this didn’t disrupt Armagh’s tempo and a brilliant long range score from Odhran Curry along with a Dean Gaffney free kept the scoreboard ticking over.
The game was essentially put to bed with the next play as Captain Nathan Curry swung a long, floating ball towards the goal mouth and Eoin McGuinness was on hand to flick the ball past the Monaghan net minder and Armagh were now nine points in front.
Further scores from Nathan Curry (3, all frees), Dean Gaffney (2), Ryan Gaffney (2), Danny Magee (2) and Paddy McBride saw Armagh 18 points ahead by the half time break, leading 1-18 to 0-3.
Monaghan notched one back early at the start of the second half with free taker Fergal Rafter getting his third while centre half back Peter Treanor also got his name on the score sheet to grab his sides 5th point.
Armagh could have raised the games second green flag when Danny Magee’s effort was turned away by the Monaghan keeper Niall Slevin while Eoin McGuinness slotted the ball over from the rebound.
The hosts wouldn’t have to wait long for another opportunity to rattle the net and the chance fell to McGuinness who was once again on the end a long ball to the square and his second major of the contest sent Armagh 20 points ahead.
Scores followed from McBride, Martin Moan, Dean Gaffney and Mark McClatchey, with Monaghan disturbing the flow of scores with the odd point of their own before they Stephen Lambe’s blasting shot crashed off the crossbar and fell to Mark Treanor who tapped in an easy goal for Monaghan.
Armagh replied instantly with substitute Martin Moan getting Armagh’s third goal while points from McClatchey and Dean Gaffney kept the scoreboard ticking over.
While it was a boring day between the nets for Fintan Woods, he was called into action in the final minutes and although the result was out of the question, the Middletown man made a heroic save in the final moments before Rafter swung over the resulting 65.
A super performance for the Hurlers and a convincing win that was never in doubt throughout the 60 minutes. They face a much more pressing challenge in two weeks time when the travel to Longford, but can enjoy their weeks break knowing their performances see them sit top of the table.
Armagh: Fintan Woods, Ciaran Clifford, Artie McGuinness, Odhran Curry (0-2), Kieran McKernan, Paddy Quinn, Tiarnan Nevin, Paddy McBride (0-3), Nathan Curry (0-3), Ryan Gaffney (0-2), Oisin Keenan, Dean Gaffney (0-7), Tiarnan O’Neill (0-1), Eoin McGuinness (2-1), Danny Magee (0-3). Subs: Fionntan Donnelly for T. O’Neill, Mary Moan (1-1) for O. Keenan, Connor Devlin for P. Quinn, Mark McClatchey (0-2) for E. McGuinness, David Grant for D. Magee.