Mone reflects on Monaghan’s rivalry with Armagh

This weekend Armagh renew their rivalry with southern neighbours Monaghan in the opening round of the national league.

The sides have clashed 11 times in league and championship since that famous meeting in 2003, when the Farney men surprisingly overturned the then All-Ireland champions.

Dessie Mone featured in all but two of those clashes (the Ulster quarter final and replay in 2006), started and ending his career on the back of defeats to the Orchard County.

The Clontibret defender first lined out for Monaghan in the championship against a wounded Armagh in 2004, scoring a point in that 2-19 to 0-10 defeat.

Mone made his final appearance in a blue and white shirt against Kieran McGeeney’s men in 2019, when two Rian O’Neill goals sent Monaghan crashing out of the championship.

The feared man-marker turned attacking half back was involved in notable wins over Armagh, in 2009, 2010 and 2014.

It’s a rivalry that’s very close to home for Mone and all his family as his mother hails from Ballymacnab!

“The Monaghan and Armagh (rivalry) would have been hot and heavy over the years. Whenever Armagh won their All-Ireland, I think that just put a step into the Monaghan fans or into the Monaghan players”.

Listen to our full podcast with Dessie Mone and Paddy Savage as we preview the weekends action!

“My mother’s from Armagh actually, she’s a Ballymacnab woman, so there’s always a rivalry there.

I remember they stuck the Armagh flag, when they came back down the road, into the middle of our garden. It didn’t go down too well with the father”, Mone told The Sideline Eye Podcast.

During his first championship outing in a Monaghan jersey, Dessie Mone picked up Dromintee’s Martin O’Rourke, who is now part of the Clontibret management team.

“The rivalries always been hot and heavy on the pitch. Funny enough over our club now is John McEntee and Martin O’Rourke.

I remember on my debut I was marking Martin O’Rourke, on my debut for Monaghan, so it’s just the way things come around again”.

The rivalry was tough and perhaps boiled over at times, but nonetheless they were memorable outings for Mone.

“They’re very enjoyable (games) over the years against Armagh, there’s no love lost on and off the pitch at times.

Great memories I have to say. Very tough games but enjoyable games”.

Armagh have only beaten Monaghan once in their last four meetings and three times in their previous ten games in league and championship.

Still, Geezer’s side will be quietly confident of toppling Seamus McEnaney’s men and getting one step closer to retaining their division one status.